Thursday, September 13, 2012

Petition would force vote on Farm Bill in full House

House Republican leaders have refused to allow a vote on a new Farm Bill until after the November election, even though the Agriculture Committee approved one in July. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has initiated a discharge petition, which can bring a bill to the floor if it has 218 signatures, a majority of the House.

But the bill has to be formally reported to the floor before the discharge can be launched, and Speaker John Boehner has kept it from being reported, even though House rules require a "prompt" report, Bob Meyer of Brownfield Agricultural News reports.  "Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., did not report the bill to the House clerk until Monday," reports Michael Catalini of the National Journal, citing an unnamed Democratic aide. "Discharge petitions can only be introduced either after bills have been reported out of committee, or after 30 legislative days go by."

Braley said in a statement yesterday, "Speaker Boehner is using all the moves in the procedural playbook . . . personally overruling a bipartisan and geographically diverse coalition that I’m helping lead, 50 different farm groups, and what I believe to be a bipartisan majority of the House. If he put this bill on the floor, it would pass, and we’d be one step closer to bringing stability and relief to American farmers and consumers." Braley said that of the last five farm bills, the longest delay between a vote to report and the actual reporting was 20 days. The vote was 66 days ago. (Read more)

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