Braley Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Launch Farm Bill Discharge Petition Effort

Aug 2, 2012 Issues: Agriculture

Group of four urges colleagues to commit to signing discharge petition

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) today led a bipartisan coalition of Rick Berg (R-ND), Chris Gibson (R-NY), and Peter Welch (D-VT) to launch an all-out effort to recruit members to sign a discharge petition that could force a House vote on the 2012 Farm Bill in September.

Rep. Braley said, “Producers battered by this summer’s drought are counting on the Farm Bill to help them through this tough time.  It’s time to get this important bill moving forward.  Rural America is depending on the Farm Bill for our future and can’t wait forever to know the path forward.”

In a letter sent to House colleagues, the bipartisan group urged a commitment to signing the discharge petition as quickly as possible:

“Please join us in committing to sign a discharge petition to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act to the House Floor for a vote,” the letter reads.  “As you know, the Farm Bill has yet to be brought up and it is unclear whether it will come up prior to the Farm Bill’s September 30th expiration date.”

A bill must receive an up or down vote in the House if at least 218 members sign a document known as a “discharge petition.”  On July 24th, Braley took the first steps to initiate a discharge petition on the Farm Bill by introducing a resolution outlining a process to circumvent House leaders’ hold on the bill.

Because House rules require a waiting period between the time a bill is referred to a committee and when members can sign a discharge petition on it, Braley’s Farm Bill petition won’t be officially opened for signatures until after members depart for an August recess.

The Farm Bill is critically important for America’s farmers and the economy and would provide certainty and a safety net for farmers struggling through this summer’s drought.  The hot weather and lack of rain have left farmers vulnerable to weak crops and struggling livestock.  Over half of the counties in the United States have been declared disaster areas due to the drought.

Text of the letter follows; a scanned copy can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/GXD

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Commit to the Farm Bill; Commit to Discharge Petition

Dear Colleague:
              
Please join us in committing to sign a discharge petition to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act to the House Floor for a vote. As you know, the Farm Bill has yet to be brought up and it is unclear whether it will come up prior to the Farm Bill’s September 30th expiration date.

The House Agriculture Committee approved the FARRM Act by a vote of 35-11 with bipartisan support, but it has yet to be reported. We have heard from various agricultural groups and their message is loud and clear – they want and need a five-year Farm Bill.

According to House Rules, for unreported legislation a discharge petition cannot be filed until 30 legislative days after it has been referred to the committee of jurisdiction. In the case of the House Farm Bill, it was referred on July 9th, so the discharge petition will be able to be filed on or around September 13th, since pro forma days during the August work period will count towards the 30 day requirement.

This petition will move to discharge the Committee on Rules from the consideration of H. Res. 739 entitled, a resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 6083).

Because the discharge petition cannot be filed until after the August work period, we are taking the step of simply seeking commitments from those who are willing to sign it once it becomes available at the Clerk’s desk.

The need to extend assistance for farmers gets more urgent every day, given the worsening drought that is blanketing more than half the country. Just like millions of small businesses across the country, farmers need certainty and confidence in the federal programs that affect their lives. Failure to provide certainty will have a devastating impact on the agriculture industry.

Please show your support to our nation’s farmers by committing to sign on to this discharge petition. Feel free to contact todd.wolf@mail.house.gov in Rep. Braley’s office if you have any questions or your boss would like to commit to signing this discharge petition. Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely,                                                     

Bruce Braley                                                   
Member of Congress                                     

Rick Berg                                                       
Member of Congress             
                                           
Chris Gibson                                                  
Member of Congress                                     

Peter Welch
Member of Congress