Congress Returning, But Hope for Farm Bill Fades With Rise of Syria Debate
Both chambers of Congress will be back in session on Monday, but with just nine Congressional working days in September and a new issue – potential military action in Syria – added to the already exhaustive list of things to tackle, it’s unlikely a new, long-term farm bill will be approved any time soon. The Senate passed its version of the legislation in June, and the House passed a “farm-only” farm bill in July. House leaders have said they will seek a nutrition bill to marry with the farm-only bill before a conference committee convenes. Word is that the process of taking up a nutrition package, which will reportedly include up to $40 billion in cuts to food stamps, will be discussed mid-next week within the Republican caucus, pushing any action until the week of the 16th, at the earliest. However, President Barack Obama called this week for a Congressional resolution regarding striking Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, a debate that will occupy most of next week’s Congressional schedule.
USDA Launches #MyFarmBill Campaign to Push Bill’s Completion
With Members of Congress headed back to Washington and the farm bill end-game theoretically drawing near, USDA is urging farmers to speak up about why the farm bill matters on social media using the hashtag #MyFarmBill. The Department said Wednesday it is launching an account on photo-sharing website Instagram, www.instagram.com/usdagov, to highlight photos and videos from rural Americans. This social media outreach will complement USDA’s presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where officials have been pressing the case in recent weeks for a new farm bill. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack did several interviews this week calling for completion of a new bill and rejecting ideas of an extension.
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