By Congressman Bruce Braley
The Farm Bill – Failure Isn’t an Option
Last week, I voted for Iowa farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses by supporting the Farm Bill. Passage of the Farm Bill would have allowed the House and Senate to work together and reach a consensus on the important farm and food issues that directly affect Iowa’s economy and benefit our entire nation.
But instead we saw Washington at its very worst. Ideology once again stood in the way of progress for our economy and the American people. For the second time in a year, the House failed in its responsibility to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill after the Senate did its job.
I am angry and frustrated at the failure of the House to recognize the importance of a long-term Farm Bill extension to farmers and rural America. Passing a Farm Bill isn’t optional; it’s a necessity for Iowa agriculture producers who need certainty and predictability so they can invest in the future, create jobs, and grow our economy.
While this Farm Bill was not perfect, the best way to fix its flaws is to keep the process moving and work together to find common ground, not reject it entirely and start from scratch. Iowa’s farmers deserve a five year bill that ensures a strong crop insurance program, risk management tools for unknown disasters like floods and drought, and support for innovation and technology in an ever-evolving and forward-thinking industry that feeds the world and fuels our economy.
I’m proud that the four members of Iowa’s delegation, two Democrats and two Republicans, agreed and voted together to move the Farm Bill forward. I know for a fact that we didn’t agree on every part of the bill, but each of us knew that in order to reach a compromise we needed to pass the Farm Bill out of the House. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues were unwilling to work together and compromise and the bill failed to get a simple majority.
Ask any farmer or agricultural producer in Iowa and they’ll tell you: they need the predictability that a long-term extension of the Farm Bill will provide. It’s time that the House gets serious and negotiates a compromise on a five-year Farm Bill extension. No one is going to get exactly what they want, but the stakes are just too high to accept failure.