WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2013 – Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., expressed frustration with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today following reports that he will bring a nutrition title with $40 billion in cuts to the House floor for a vote next month.
She described the steep food stamp cuts as just “one more roadblock” in getting the farm bill done.
“Now that he’s come forward with a nutrition title that will cut $40 billion and have additional riders on it…that are really appalling…we are in a situation where we can’t negotiate because we don’t know what the parameters of the bill are going to be,” she told reporters during a conference call this afternoon.
“It’s wasted time and effort…and getting in the way of a serious discussion.”
“So it’s now put us in another situation where it’s going to make it harder to get a farm bill done,” Stabenow added, while noting that she’s “concerned” Congress will be unable to pass another one-year extension this year.
“There are those in the U.S. Senate and House, as well, who will strongly fight any extension that includes direct payments,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow also said she was “concerned” about the few legislative days – only nine – that lawmakers will have to pass a bill once they return to the capital in September.
Stabenow’s comments seemed to highlight continuing differences between the top two House Republicans and the challenges both face in trying to move major pieces of legislation.
“I know that the Majority Leader (Cantor) in the House does not want a farm bill. He’s made it clear from the beginning with everything he’s done,” she explained. However, she noted that Speaker John Boehner told her directly in a conversation that he “would like to complete a farm bill.”
Stabenow encouraged stakeholders to let their elected representatives know that a new farm bill needs to be completed before the current extension expires on Sept. 30.
“Everyone who cares about the farm bill should stand up and say they are tired of this,” she added. “Enough is enough. The House needs to appoint conferees and we need to get this done.”
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