PLATTSBURGH — North Country Congressman Bill Owens is not happy that the pending Farm Bill will not be voted on before it expires Sunday.
"I'm extremely disappointed that House leadership refused to allow a vote on the Farm Bill before adjourning for the elections," Owens said in a statement this week.
House Speaker John Boehner said late last week that the bill will not be voted on before it expires, prompting Owens and several members from both parties to send a letter to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor asking him to see about expediting action on it.
The bill has been approved by the Senate. The House Agriculture Committee, of which Owens is a member, OK'd it by a bipartisan count of 35 to 11 on June 11.
If the legislation is not approved, federal farm and food programs will expire, hampering farmers in New York and across the country, Owens said.
"It is wholly unacceptable that House leadership has blocked that bill from consideration by the full House," he said. "In light of this decision, I urge House leadership in the strongest terms to put the Farm Bill that the House Agriculture Committee passed up for a vote when Congress returns in November."
Matt Doheny, a Republican who is challenging Owens for the 21st District seat, said playing politics is hurting farmers.
"This is terribly disappointing news for our farmers and families, who have become pawns in election-year politics," Doheny said.
"As an outsider, I am frustrated by the lack of leadership from both sides of the aisle. After realizing there are too many on the far left and far right who do not support this bill, politicians decided to point fingers instead of sit at the table and find common ground.
"This is another chapter in an ongoing saga about the lack of real solutions coming out of Congress."
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