by Max Brantley
The Tulsa World reports here that a five-year farm bill extension is in doubt, the obstacles including resistance from Tea Party Republicans who want to slash food aid for the poor still more.
The Arkansas Democratic Party is happy to note that farm belt congressman Rick Crawford, the Jonesboro Republican, sits on the House Agriculture Committee and looks ineffective having said not long ago that House passage of a five-year bill looked "really good."
The party comments that even a one-year extension now looks difficult (Crawford's campaign website hasn't been updated on the issue since he hailed committee approval of a five-year bill July 13):
Today, the farm bill became the most recent victim of Congressman Crawford’s dysfunctional Congress. Less than two weeks ago, Congressman Rick Crawford said the chances of the House of Representatives passing a five year extension of the Farm Bill were “really good,” and he predicted a “groundswell of support” from his fellow House Republicans. However, last week Congressman Crawford’s Republican leadership has “back-burned” the five year extension of the farm bill by refusing to bring the measure to a floor vote because of Tea Party Republicans.
Yesterday, Arkansas farmers and ranchers just received even more bad news from Washington. Despite possible discussion for a one year extension of the farm bill coupled with drought relief, Crawford’s Washington allies decided “to drop plans to extend the current farm program for one year.”
“Sadly, Arkansans have become accustomed to expecting only dysfunctional and gridlock from Congressman Crawford’s Washington allies,” said Candace Martin, communications director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas. “While hardworking Arkansas farmers are facing uncertainty amid a dangerous drought, Congressman Crawford’s partisan Congress has failed to pass legislation critical to the state’s economy.”
Just last week, Congressman Crawford claimed that “it is essential that Congress vote on a Farm Bill” before the August recess.