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Pelosi calls for farm bill action; Boehner says no decision yet

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urged action on the legislation before the August recess so that a final bill could be signed by President Barack Obama before September 30, but also noted she cannot support the food stamp cut in the House bill.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, asked at a press conference today if the bill would come to the floor, said "No decisions have been made on the farm bill yet,” The Hill reported.

Pelosi addressed a letter to the 46 farm groups that had written House leaders urging action.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“I join Democrats and Republicans and dozens of groups – representing farmers, ranchers, the faith community, nutrition advocates, scientists, environmental and conservation organizations – calling for swift action on the farm bill,” Pelosi wrote in the letter.

“Inaction by the Republican congressional leadership means that disaster assistance will expire at the very time when we are experiencing the worst drought in 50 years,” Pelosi said. “Rural America is already facing the termination of livestock and crop assistance in the midst of this crisis. Inaction means economic, nutritional and employment crisis throughout our rural communities.”

Pelosi said that in 2008, House Democrats led the way in passing what Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has called, “the best farm bill in the history of our nation.” Peterson was the House Agriculture Committee chairman then, and is now its ranking member

“Now, we must again pass a farm bill that invests in local communities, strengthens rural America, and creates jobs,” she said.

“There are, of course, a diversity of views that exist about specifics in the farm bill,” Pelosi added. “For example, I cannot support the cuts to the food and nutrition programs. But, these differences are all the more reason to bring the bill up under an open rule that allows for debate and amendments and move us to a conference with the Senate.”

The letter was addressed to Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Mary Kay Thatcher of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and was copied to the other groups that had written House leaders.