U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in farm country Monday continuing to push Congress to send a farm bill to President Obama’s desk.
Vilsack doesn’t consider extending the farm bill beyond the September 30 expiration a sound option.
At a summit in Ames, Ia. sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Vilsack repeated a common refrain: the bill encompasses food, farm and jobs policies and affects many more Americans than just farmers and recipients of nutrition assistance. Vilsack says he wants Congress to make long-term decisions now rather than ending up with another one year extension.
“Honestly, an extension removes any impetus for getting a farm bill done,” says Vilsack.
Plus, Vilsack says writing the bill isn’t going to get easier.
“The challenge and the risk of not getting it done this year is that you’re not likely to get it done in an election year as we saw in 2012,” says Vilsack. “And then if you don’t get it done in the election year, then you have a new Congress.”
But with the August Congressional recess looming, Vilsack says time appears to be running out.