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Congressional Departure Results in Unfinished Business

Congressional Departure Results in Unfinished Business

Congress leaves town with legislation hanging in the balance; Stabenow not pleased with House's performance on the Farm Bill.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., expressed her disappointment last week in the House's inability to pass their version of the Farm Bill.

"I'm very concerned, and very disappointed that the Speaker and the House leadership did not support their efforts to bring this to the floor," Stabenow said Thursday while addressing the Senate. "In July, when I was in the house I had never heard of a situation where there was a bipartisan Farm Bill reported out of committee and not taken up on the floor."

"It is very, very concerning," she added.

WAITING GAME: Legislation waits in the wings for Congress to return from recess.

And, though disaster legislation was approved, those scheduled to benefit from it will have to wait just a little bit longer. Stabenow was reported as saying she was against a disaster bill that only covered some producers.

"It is critical that the House follow our lead and pass a critical disaster assistance program, but in the context of real reform, and a five-year farm bill," Stabenow said.

Though Stabenow was critical of House leadership, she commended the House Agriculture Committee for their bipartisan efforts to push the Farm Bill out of committee.

"I want to commend the chairman and the ranking member in the House for doing what we did, which is to work together," Stabenow said. "They worked very hard together. I know we can come to agreement on something that is a compromise between the House and the Senate."

She promised that the Senate would come together to negotiate in the next weeks to come together informally and offer a compromise to the House and Senate for consideration.

Stabenow reminded the Senate of the Farm Bill's immediate need for attention.

"We are racing against the clock," she said.

Russian Trade Bill Also On Hold

Both the House and the Senate left a long line of bills waiting in the wings, including legislation to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia, which enjoys support from many in agriculture.

The bill would allow the U.S. to take advantage of trade opportunities with Russia, which will expand when Russia formally joins the World Trade Organization later this month

Majority leader Eric Cantor said Thursday the House is prepared to vote on the trade bill when they return to session in September.

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