President calls on Americans to help him pressure Congress to act...
Congress has departed Washington, DC, and will not return until after the November election. On Saturday, President Obama used his Weekly Address to rebuke House Republicans for having "skipped town" while leaving plenty of work unfinished, including passing a new Farm Bill. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Saturday also issued a statement chastising Republicans for "leaving thousands of farming families exposed"
and forcing rural Americans to "shoulder undue burdens." The current Farm Bill expires on September 30.
"Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now," President Obama said, adding that Americans should be frustrated.
"If Congress had gotten its act together, we would have a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer," President Obama said.
"And we’d have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty. But so far, Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet. And now they’re gone."
On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that the House is delaying the Farm Bill until after the election because of a lack of agreement on reforms.
"We've got people who believe there's not enough reform in the farm bill that came out of committee," Boehner said. "We’ve got others who believe there’s too much reform in the bill that came out of the committee."
"In a year that has brought its share of challenges to America's
farmers and ranchers, the House Republicans have added new uncertainty
for rural America," Vilsack said. "Without the certainty of a
multi-year bill, rural communities are being asked to shoulder undue
The President urged Americans to pressure Congress to act on all pending legislation, including the Farm Bill.
"I need your help," President Obama said. "Tell your
Members of Congress you can’t afford to wait any longer. If you get an
answering machine, leave a message. If you see them campaigning back
home, tell them in person. Because there’s been enough talk. It’s time
The Secretary's full statement on the Farm Bill:
"In a year that has brought its share of challenges to America's farmers and ranchers, the House Republicans have added new uncertainty for rural America. Unfortunately, House Republicans left Washington without passing comprehensive, multi-year food, farm and jobs legislation, leaving thousands of farming families exposed.
U.S. agriculture is fighting to maintain the tremendous momentum it has built over the past three years, but with natural disasters and other external forces threatening livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers, certainty is more important than ever.
Americans deserve a food, farm and jobs bill that reforms the safety net for producers in times of need, promotes the bio-based economy, conserves our natural resources, strengthens rural communities, promotes job growth in rural America, and supports food assistance to low-income families. Without the certainty of a multi-year bill, rural communities are being asked to shoulder undue burdens."
*Photo by Lawrence Jackson/White House