WWNYTV: Owens, Others Seek Meeting On Farm Billhttp://www.wwnytv.com/news/local/Owens-Others-Seek-Meeting-On-Farm-Bill-170064766.html
A group of 40 Republican and Democratic members of Congress - including Bill Owens, who represents northern New York - has asked House majority leader Eric Cantor for meeting.
The group of 17 Republicans and 23 Democrats wants to press its case for passing a new farm bill, before the current farm bill runs out at the end of this month.
"Whether members support or oppose the farm bill," the letter notes, "we believe the House should be allowed to vote so that we can be held accountable to those we represent.
"We understand time is short, but we need to act now to provide certainty to rural and urban America alike."
The U.S. Senate passed a version of the farm bill earlier this summer, as did the House agriculture committee, of which Owens is a member. However, the Republican leadership in the House wouldn't allow the bill to come up for a vote.
The farm bill is a rethinking of exactly how the government subsidizes farming, without changing the underlying philosophy that government should subsidize farming. (See our story here.)
As such, there are a number of splits connected to the bill: Democrats and Republicans are at odds over how much should be cut from the food stamp program; more and less conservative Republicans are split over how much government should be involved in helping farmers; and there are regional splits, because the new farm bill benefits some types of farming more than others.
(Editor's note - The web site Politico has an update on the status of the farm bill Monday night. The short version? It's in a lot of trouble.)
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