Both members of the Quad City’s house delegation are in the area gearing up for their next big fight. Democrats Cheri Bustos and Dave Loebsack head back to Washington in a few days as members of the house take up the farm bill. The U.S Senate took action just a few days ago and now the house is poised to do the same.
Tom Mueller has never felt more uncertain than now, “It just leaves everything kind of up in the air.”
Mueller along with farmers across the country nervously wait for lawmakers to act on the farm bill.
“We have to plan really almost a year sometimes two years in advanced, making plans on what where we are going to grow and buying inputs and when we don’t know what’s going to happen we can’t make those plans,” says Mueller.
The senate version of the bill passed last week, but the house version has not yet made it to the floor and it has deeper cuts than what senators approved.
“It will be a long process to talk about that, debate the ins and the outs of it, but my hope is that in the end we’ll get a farm bill passed out of the house,” says Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.
Tom says the one of the most important parts of the bill is crop insurance. It’s the insurance that saved a lot of farmers from last year’s drought.
“Many people would be out of business this year if it wasn’t for the crop insurance,” says Mueller.
Without insurance farmers might have to make some changes says Mueller, “Everybody will have to really reassess their own situation and try to decide how much risk they can take.”
However, Congressman Dave Loebsack is hopeful, “There will be a farm bill, I feel pretty good about that this year.”
Ultimately Mueller says he hopes lawmakers can come to an agreement, “We hope they can just get together and compromise and work this out and see that passing the five year farm bill would be the best thing for all of us.”
80% of the farm bill doesn’t even deal with farming. Instead that money goes toward the federal Food Stamp program. The Republican-controlled house insists on deeper cuts than what the democratically-controlled senate approved.