FARGO – North Dakota Republican Rep. Rick Berg is urging his party’s leadership to take up the 2012 farm bill before the current law expires Sept. 30.
Progress on the bill is now stalled until the GOP’s top brass in the House agrees to bring the legislation to the floor for consideration, a move that seems unlikely at least until after the November elections.
In a letter this week to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Virginia) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (California), Berg asked for “prompt consideration” of the 2012 farm bill.
“The time for the House to act on the 2012 farm bill is now,” Berg said in his letter to House leadership. “The lack of a 2012 farm bill would fail to provide the necessary certainty to farmers and ranchers, which could cripple North Dakota’s No. 1 industry and lead to higher prices for consumers at the grocery store.”
Berg’s office said the congressman has also been in contact with other House members, hoping to put pressure on the GOP leadership to bring the farm bill to the floor.
Berg has said there are good aspects in both the House and Senate versions of the 2012 farm bill, but he hasn’t specified a preference as to which he’d favor in the final package.
The House bill includes more spending cuts – primarily from nutrition programs – than the Senate bill does. The Senate’s version of the bill saves about $2.3 billion a year, while the House bill saves $3.5 billion annually.
Instead, Berg is urging the House to pass its version of the bill as quickly as possible, so the two bills can be blended in a conference committee before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Berg is the Republican candidate for North Dakota’s open U.S. Senate seat this year.