Farm bill defeat could affect 20,000 local farmers

A day after the U.S. House failed to pass its own version of the farm bill, workers from the Rock Island County Farm Bureau say that action could hit 20,000 Iowa and Illinois farmers hard.

The House version of the bill would give crop insurance to farmers who lost money because of last year’s drought.  That measure failed with a vote of 195 in favor and 234 against.

Republicans added another work requirement that farmers would need in order for them to apply. Many democrats didn’t support the measure, but U.S. House Rep. Dave Loebsack still supported the bill.

“I’m not trying to blame one side over the other,” Loebsack said.  “We’ve got problems on both sides of the aisle. There’s no question. But it’s a matter of getting together, sitting down, and figuring out on a bipartisan basis how to move this ball forward.”

An estimated 80% of the measure has nothing to do with farming; instead it is focused on food assistance programs like food stamps.  Differences over those programs are where the two sides split, with conservatives wanting more cuts and liberals wanting better protection for the poor.

Loebsack said he’d like for the U.S. House to take up the U.S. Senate’s version of the farm bill instead.

Lawmakers have until September 30th to try to pass some sort of legislation.

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