Editorial: Congress needs to get to work
In July, a new five-year Farm Bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on a bipartisan vote of 35-11. Yet, despite that support, the bill sits idling away in a House that is shirking its responsibility to move legislation forward.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, announced on Friday the cancellation of an October House work session, allowing Congress a seven-week recess until after Election Day following a three-day session this week. The new Farm Bill is not on this week's agenda, which seems remarkable considering the current legislation expires at the end of this month -- and the fact that farm policies would revert back to those of decades ago should nothing be done.
Rep. Tim Walz issued a statement Monday morning decrying the inaction, and it's right on target.
"The American people go about their business every day and expect Congress to do the same. I am absolutely appalled that House leadership would send us home without getting our chores done and voting on a five-year Farm Bill.
"In small towns across this country, local businesses depend on the farm economy to survive," he continued. "When farmers do well, local businesses do well. Farmers spend their money on Main Street. ... Without a five-year Farm Bill, these businesses will also suffer."
Allen Quist, who is challenging Walz in November, is vehemently opposed to the new Farm Bill, citing the large amount of money in the legislation devoted to food stamps. Opposition is one thing, and others in the House certainly agree with Quist. But shouldn't legislators at least get an up-or-down vote?
Congress is now poised to work just eight days between Aug. 4 and Nov. 13. That's not what we elected them to do -- or, in this case, not do.