Vilsack: Many losers in farm bill defeat

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VilsackTom Vilsack speaking about the farm bill. KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A politically divided Congress did not pass the farm bill on Thursday, and it could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed the topic at a forum Friday in Kansas City, Mo. The intended focus of the forum was immigration reform, but Vilsack first touched on the immediate issue of the farm bill. 

“We need certainty in farm policy and, unfortunately, yesterday we didn’t get that certainty from the House of Representatives,” Vilsack said. “There was a lack of political leadership at the highest levels of the House, which resulted in the failure... to pass farm legislation.”

There are a lot of consequences because the farm bill was not passed. Vilsack said subsidy programs, crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) will suffer, but it will also have a negative effect on energy security, job growth, trade and research.

Politics played a role in the latest version of the farm bill not being accepted, he said.

“Honestly, we need to get beyond expressing disappointment and frustration, which is what we did last year and the same thing happened. The Senate, which is as conservative, and as progressive, and as divided as the House, found a way not once, but twice to pass a food, farm, and jobs bill,” Vilsack said.

The Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly, with 66 votes in favor to 27 "no" votes, providing optimism for future votes on the farm bill.

“It can be done if you are willing to reach across the aisle, if you are willing to compromise and if you are willing to search for consensus,” said Vilsack. “But that didn’t happen yesterday and there are many, many losers as a result.”

For the time being, the farm bill will likely be maintained at the 2008 level.

Vilsack remains hopeful that there will be a resolution to the problems surrounding the farm bill.

“We will continue to work hard and continue to articulate the need for certainty in a five-year program, in the hopes that what happened yesterday can be turned around,” Vilsack said.

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SW Okla cotton country  |  June, 24, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Yup. There ARE many losers in the Farm Bill. The majority of them are the taxpayers that are supporting the farmers while the farmers sit at the coffee shop with their new 3/4 ton 4x4 trucks parked out front while they belly ache about people on food stamps...

Nampa,Idaho  |  June, 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Not every dairy farmer sits @ the coffee shop with a brand new truck. Some of us do our own work @ drive old trucks. Yup. we do complain about people on food stamps. Some of them deserve to receive them but it's the ones that drive the new fancy vehicles, get medical free & also have a job. But u can thank the current president for that. Any person receiving food stamps or any sort of government assistants should be drug tested first.

Lebanon,CT  |  June, 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Too many things get 'attached' to any bill that gets brought before the lawmakers of our country that do more harm than good. Then the good bits of the bill get thrown out with the bad. Seems to me we need to simplify the bills and stop expecting taxpayers to subsidized bad business practices AND buy our products too. How can we make them pay twice? And they absolutely should drug test people getting handouts from the government!

CNY  |  June, 24, 2013 at 05:30 PM

I know y'all love to bash Obama but the new rules that made more people able to suck the food stamp teat were put in place by the Bush administration. Not having the DSA passed makes me feel like a winner.

Edward Watts    
PA  |  June, 24, 2013 at 08:43 PM

I said it before and I'll say it again. It is time to get the food stamp program out of the farm bill. I am not opposed to food stamps as some people truly need them. But, they do not belong in the farm bill.

Batavia, NY  |  June, 24, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Food stamps, subsidized crop insurance, peanut quotas, sugar quotas, Dairy supply all sounds like welfare to me. Hopefully the Tea Party can drive a wooden stake through the heart of this farm bill.

kansas  |  June, 28, 2013 at 08:55 AM

The "farm bill" (harhar) is nothing more than a huge opportunity for Pols & Bureaucrats to posture in public and pay-off supporters behind the curtain. The question for Vilsack et al is, "Why is SNAP, School Lunches, WIC, Commodities Distr.,etc. part of the USDA & Farm Program?". They are 80% of the Entire Budget, and have NOTHING to do with the business of Farming. We might as well include regulations and subsidy programs for how WalMart arranges its shelves or how many parking spaces should be available to Target. The whole thing is absurd, but no one wants to face it. Self-perpetuating insanity.

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