Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., wants Congress to finalize the new farm bill before the current one expires Sept. 30. But that will require action by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who hasn’t committed to sending his chamber’s bill to the House floor before the August recess. The drought conditions in Kansas and other areas of farm country are only adding to the uncertainty. “If we don’t get any rain and this deadline gets closer,” Roberts told Politico, “the pressure starts to build.” The option of a short-term extension of the current bill is under discussion, though Roberts isn’t sure that it could pass. Boehner said “there are some good reforms in this farm bill,” but that it would make a “Soviet-style dairy program” worse. Before the House version cleared the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, failed in an attempt to double the bill’s $16.5 billion cut to food stamps over the next 10 years. As it is, as many as 3 million people would lose food-stamp benefits and nearly 300,000 children would lose eligibility for free lunches. Huelskamp’s effort upset fellow conservative Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, who said: “I ask each and every one of my colleagues to look in their heart and look in their soul and if you haven’t volunteered at a food bank, I suggest this weekend that you go to your local food bank and volunteer.”
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