Farm bill frustration as Congress adjourns without appointing conferees

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Congressional observers say that as Congress adjourns, prospects for the farm bill passing this year have dimmed.

Forum Communications reports the Republican leadership refused to appoint conferees until the House comes back into session in September. The stumbling block is whether to include a nutrition bill that would cut the food stamp program by $40 billion over 10 years.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said the GOP insistence on including the nutrition bill would kill any chance of passing a farm bill this year.

KTOE Radio in Mankato reports that Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., led a coalition of 50 members of Congress and sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner, urging him to name House conferees before adjournment.

"I taught sixth grade for many years," he said. "The rule in our class was you don't go to recess until you finish your work."

The Senate passed a full farm bill. The two bills contain different provisions that need to be reconciled into a conference report, but the lack of House conferees limits the amount of work the staff of the House and Senate Agriculture committees can do.

The Crookston Times reports that U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was named to the Farm Bill conference committee. She is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and worked to create the Senate version of the bill, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support before the Senate adjourned for a five-week recess.

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