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Boehner on Record Endorsing Farm Bill

Boehner on Record Endorsing Farm Bill
House Speaker says he'll support ag and nutrition legislation so work can begin this month.

Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced he'll support the farm bill, saying that he wants to vote for the farm bill to make sure "that the good work of the Agriculture Committee" and any action on the house floor can be approved and get to conference. You can see his statement in this Politico link.

HOUSE TO VOTE? With John Boehner's state support today, the House could move forward with the farm bill later this month.

Ag groups and others have been applying pressure on Boehner and the House to move ahead with its own version of the farm bill - which has already cleared committee. Last year the House version of the farm bill was left for dead never making it to the floor for consideration. There has been talk that Boehner has problems with the dairy provisions of the House measure (which are very similar to the already-passed Senate version).

However, Boehner is apparently willing to move ahead even with those concerns. He is a well-known opponent of the farm bill and often votes against farm bills in the House.

Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation, issued a statement in response to the news of Boehner's support: " With his statement of support for the farm bill today, Speaker Boehner is giving all Americans, including the farmers who feed them and those concerned with nutrition programs, real optimism that Washington can get important work done in 2013. In return, today he has been attacked unfairly by those who want to make the bipartisan progress on a farm bill appear to be the work of party politics by President Obama or the speaker himself."

Stallman notes that Congress is advancing bipartisan farm legislation, noting that the House version cleared committee on a 36-10 vote. "It is unfortunate that outside political groups with no interest in the agricultural economy or the farm and ranch families who underpin our rural economies have reacted by promoting inaction, effectively supporting no reform, no progress."

Both versions of the farm bill - the Senate's, which has passed, and the committee-approved House version end direct payments to farmers and restructure crop insurance. Concerns over nutrition program spending remain a top issue going forward.

The conservative group Heritage Action has condemned the Boehner announcement noting that Republicans are to be a "check on President Obama's disastrous policies" and that advancing nearly $1 trillion in food stamp and farm spending "ignores that mandate."

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