WASHINGTON — Collin Peterson said Monday he didn’t think House Republicans had the votes to pass a straight one-year extension of federal farm programs, and leadership apparently determined the same thing on Tuesday.
Just before the House Rules Committee was set to hear the bill — its last stop before heading to the floor — Republicans pulled it off the agenda. They’ve indicated they’ll move forward with a stand-alone drought relief package instead, and there’s bipartisan support for such a plan in the House (Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, said he supports such a bill as long as its paid for, which, in the Republican-controlled House, it almost certainly will be).
Though the Senate passed its version of the farm bill relatively easily in June, the House version has faced a much rockier path. The House Agriculture Committee signed off on the bill earlier this month, over the objections of conservatives (who wanted deeper cuts to the food stamps program) and liberals (who though the bill cut too much already). Even after it cleared the committee, and Peterson promised to secure at least 40 Democratic votes for the bill on the floor, House Republican leadership has been wary to take it up.
Republicans introduced a one-year extension of the farm bill on Friday (the current bill expires on Sept. 30), but it was a plan roundly panned by House and Senate Democrats alike.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.