Among the topics for discussion back home during this Memorial Day recess: the farm bill.
Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is talking about the farm measure in her home state and reaffirming that it is on track to pass the Senate next week, with cautious optimism that the House will follow suit with its own version this year, unlike in 2012.
“We’re going to be passing the bill again next week in the Senate,” Stabenow told Michigan Live on Tuesday. “The committee in the House has reported the bill out. The problem has always been with the folks that don’t think we should be helping farmers at all.”
Stabenow and farm bill advocates in both parties will have to contend with opposition from the right, particularly in the House, as the process moves forward.
Two conservative think tanks posted similar criticisms of the House and Senate farm policy proposals on their websites Wednesday.
“Despite the fact that politicians are claiming that the proposed new farm bill cuts spending, it’s just a mirage created by rising baselines,” the Cato Institute said on its blog.
The Heritage Foundation offered a post criticizing support for farms in which the families of former president Jimmy Carter, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla., and others have ownership states.
“There are folks that are very, very right-wing and sort of the tea party part of the Republican caucus now that believes we shouldn’t be providing any kind of crop insurance or help or research or conservation or anything like that. Or nutrition services or anything like that,” Stabenow said, adding, “I think there is enough of a bipartisan group though in the House that understands this is a jobs bill.”
Stabenow was making an appearance at an apple orchard in Sparta, Mich., Michigan Live reported.
Others talking about the farm bill include Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.,
“I’m kind of hoping the president gets to sign a farm bill before our August summer break,” Grassley told reporters, according to the Des Moines Register.
Cantwell was in Spokane, Wash., at a seed processing facility. She touted provisions supporting pulse crops like lentils and chickpeas.
“Washington state is already the top chickpea producer in the nation. With the right investments, acreage of chickpeas, peas and lentils could double and support even more jobs in the state,” Cantwell said.