Will Clinton, Obama, Biden and Dodd Show for Key Farm Vote?

Will Clinton, Obama, Biden and Dodd Show for Key Farm Vote?

Will Clinton, Obama, Biden and Dodd Show for Key Farm Vote?

Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are all running around Iowa telling farmers how much they care about them.

But do the Democratic presidential contenders care enough about farmers to take a break from the campaign trail to fight for farmers on the floor of the Senate?

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture in order to force action on the Farm Bill, consideration of which has been delayed for months by senators who are playing politics with policy debates that will decide whether family farms and rural communities survive or struggle — and perhaps even fail — in 2008 and beyond.

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are all running around Iowa telling farmers how much they care about them.

But do the Democratic presidential contenders care enough about farmers to take a break from the campaign trail to fight for farmers on the floor of the Senate?

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture in order to force action on the Farm Bill, consideration of which has been delayed for months by senators who are playing politics with policy debates that will decide whether family farms and rural communities survive or struggle — and perhaps even fail — in 2008 and beyond.

“The farm bill has been deadlocked in the Senate for nearly a month, despite the bill’s unanimous, bipartisan support in the Senate Agriculture Committee and broad support from the countryside,” says National Farmers Union President Tom Buis, a progressive farm leader who has been arguing for some time that the delay in Senate action on the Farm Bill makes it difficult for working farmers to make critical decisions about how to run their operations.

“There has been plenty of time to move forward and it is disappointing that the Senate hasn’t passed a farm bill, adds Buis. “It is time for Senators to stand up in support of rural America, our producers, consumers and their families, and vote to proceed on this important bill.”

As fall gives way to winter, the NFU president has been reminding senators that, “The winter wheat crop is already in the ground and producers are beginning to make decisions for the upcoming planting season. Producers need to know what kind of farm programs they will be operating under next year”

Pressure from the NFU and other farm groups has finally gotten Reid to move.

A vote on cloture is expected Friday.

It’s going to be a critical test.

“With the end of the year fast approaching, Congressional work days are few and time is running out,” says Buis. “The Senate needs to act quickly to pass a farm bill so a House-Senate conference committee can be appointed, members can approve a conference report and the President can sign a farm bill into law.”

To assure that the Senate gets serious about farm and food issues, Reid will need as much unity as he can muster from Senate Democrats.

Will Clinton, Obama, Biden and Dodd show up? Will they put policymaking ahead of politics, at least for one day?

Or will they decide that it is more important to run around Iowa spouting rhetoric about farm policy rather than to get a real debate on the Farm Bill started in Washington.

If the Democratic contenders need something more to chew on, they might consider this fact: The Farm Bill debate has meaning in states throughout the Midwest — including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri — which will be the critical electoral battlegrounds next November.

If the eventual Democratic nominee wants to get an upper hand going into a race against New York Republican Rudy Giuliani or Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney, the single best way to do so is by establishing credibility with rural voters. And the single best way to do that is by exiting Iowa and going to where the farm policy debate needs to play out: on the floor of the Senate in which Clinton, Obama, Biden and Dodd are supposed to be serving.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy
x