WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Owens isn't giving up on the 2012 Farm Bill yet.
On Thursday, the Plattsburgh Democrat once again called on House Republican leadership to bring the Farm Bill to the floor for a vote. With budget negotiations to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff" continuing, Owens said some political observers have suggested the Farm Bill, which expired Sept. 30, be folded in to a fiscal package that would include spending cuts and an extension of middle-class tax cuts.
Politico reported this week that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is resisting potential inclusion of the Farm Bill in fiscal cliff talks.
"Speaker Boehner indicated earlier this year that the Farm Bill would come to the floor after the 2012 election, but that never happened," Owens said in a press release. "Now, we face a year-end deadline to get the bill done before the good work that's been done resets completely, meaning more delay and uncertainty for farmers. This is a real problem, especially for those like the dairy operations in New York who rely on support programs to provide affordable milk and other products to consumers."
The House Agriculture Committee and U.S. Senate have both passed versions of the Farm Bill. Both bills, if not passed, would cease to exist at the end of the year, Owens said, meaning they would need to be rewritten when the new Congress is sworn in next year.
"Too much work has been done for Congress to give up on the Farm Bill right before the finish line," Owens said. "Farmers across the country are counting on us to do the right thing, and that means getting this done before the year ends."