WASHINGTON Dec 28 An influential Democratic
senator on Friday called for the Republican-controlled House of
Representatives to vote on a new U.S. farm bill before the end
of the year and thus avoid a potential spike in U.S milk prices
and other repercussions.
"Our rural economies will take a big hit if the House fails
to pass a farm bill. Make no mistake, the farm bill is a jobs
bill," Senator Max Baucus of Montana said during a Senate debate
"There is absolutely no excuse for inaction. I call on the
House to bring the Senate farm bill up for a vote immediately,"
said Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
The Senate passed a new five-year farm bill in June, and the
House Agriculture Committee followed quickly in July, with its
But the House bill, with large cuts in food stamp funding
for lower-income Americans, has never been brought to a vote by
the full House. The previous bill expired Sept. 30.
U.S. milk prices at the grocery store could rise sharply in
2013, without a new bill or a specific patch to address dairy
programs, because the government will have to revert to 1949
"permanent law" that requires USDA to buy milk at inflated
It is unclear if the Senate or the House plans to act in the
next few days, though.
"Our farmers and ranchers break their backs to put food on
the table every day," said Baucus. "The least they deserve is an
honest fair up-or-down vote on their jobs bill."