Despite an announcement to delay a decision on the farm bill, Representative Kristi Noem said she will work to have it passed as soon as Congress returns in November.
Speaker of the House John Boehner confirmed with the Wall Street Journal that any decision on the farm bill will come after Congress returns from the election in November.
At approximately the same time the Wall Street Journal article was published, Noem was conducting a conference interview telling local media the farm bill is not scheduled on the floor this week and it won't be scheduled until the session resumes in November.
Noem said congress has only met a farm bill's deadline once or twice in the last 40 years. The last time the farm bill was up for renewal an extension was not passed until December 2007 and it was extended a few more times before an actual bill was completed in the spring of 2007.
Noem said some of the provisions in the current farm bill won't truly expire until the end of the year—but that is no excuse.
"We need to do our work on time and we need to deal with things that are important," Noem said. "Slowing things down and not having people at the table when it's this critically important is a big frustration for me."
Last week Noem and other members brought forth a discharge petition in an effort to bypass congressional leadership and force the Farm Bill to the floor. However, By Thursday the bill only received about 60 of the 218 votes it needed to have an impact.
Noem said the petition was gaining momentum, but some members of congress were reluctant to sign because they do not represent an agriculture district.
"But people also recognize if they don't have agriculture in their district they're not necessarily willing to be supportive of a discharge petition," Noem said.
In the satellite conference, Noem said she and other members of congress are working to educate members about the importance of the issue. She said it is about making sure there is affordable food on every plate in America.
"This isn't just farm policy and farm programs-- this is our food supply," Noem said.
The South Dakota Democratic Party wasted no time in putting the farm bill's failure on Noem's shoulders. Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf issued a statement saying, "Noem sat on her hands during the August recess, then failed to use her position in Republican leadership to force a vote on the Farm Bill before current farm programs expire at the end of the month."
Matt Varilek's campaign last week also attacked Noem saying she failed as a freshman liaison, because no other freshmen would sign the discharge petition.
"Not only is Noem not convincing additional freshmen to sign on, she's failing to stop a loss of support," Varilek campaign manager David Benson said in a news release.
Noem responded to the attack by saying, "People will try to politicize anything. I'm more interested in getting a farm bill done."
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