Gov. Beshear calls on Congress to pass Farm Bill; McConnell agrees - in part

08/23/2012 12:17 PM

Gov. Steve Beshear told Kentucky farmers Thursday that the best thing Congress can do for the agriculture community is to pass a farm bill to provide disaster funding in the wake of the worst drought in decades.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, spoke after Beshear and agreed with the Democratic governor and former campaign foe from 1996 — but to a point.

McConnell said he said the country doesn’t need the version of the farm bill that passed the Senate in June, which would cost $1 trillion over 10 years. Much of that would go to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which used to be known as food stamps.

Beshear said the debate over the farm bill, which spilled into the August congressional recess, is the latest example of Washington’s disfunction.

The Farm Bill — also known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 — lays out spending on programs for farmers, crop insurance and funds other programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including food stamps and school lunches.

McConnell said farmers urgently need disaster relief contained in the bill — but not all of the rest.

“I agree with the Governor that we ought to pass a farm bill. I don’t agree that we ought to pass a farm bill that 80 percent of which doesn’t have anything to do with agriculture,” McConnell said.

Congress returns to work in September.


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