Both the House and the Senate adjourned Friday without passing a Farm Bill, disappointing many who have lobbied for the cause since the Senate passed their version of the bill June 21.
Not only were industry supporters of the Farm Bill concerned, President Obama chastised Congress for departing with votes in the queue. He said Congress "dragged their feet" on the Farm Bill, and Americans should be frustrated that Congress left town without addressing key issues.
"Right now, 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. And we'd have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty," he said in his weekly address released Saturday.
Other outspoken supporters of the Farm Bill, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, each commented on the actions of Congress Friday. In a press statement, Vilsack blamed the situation on House Republicans.
"Unfortunately, House Republicans left Washington without passing comprehensive, multi-year food, farm and jobs legislation, leaving thousands of farming families exposed … 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."
He said without a Farm Bill, rural communities would "shoulder undue burdens."
Distrust For Some, Hope For Others In the Lame Duck
Sen. Stabenow echoed Vilsack's comments in a press call Thursday. Even prior to Congress' departure, Stabenow said the idea of passing a Farm Bill in a lame duck session wasn't her first choice, but she was dedicated to passage before 2013.
"We are going to do everything possible to get this done in the lame duck session," Stabenow said. "I really am shocked that there hasn't been action this month before the Sept. 30 deadline, but I'm absolutely committed to completing the farm bill in November or December."