Senate-passed bills to cut farm subsidies and food stamps and overhaul the financially teetering Postal Service have been put on hold by House Republican leaders wary of igniting internal party fights or risking voters’ ire three months before the election.
The House is scheduled this week to take up a bill to replace the Obama administration’s offshore drilling plan, and the Senate will ignore it, and some measures to reduce government red tape. What’s not on the schedule are a farm bill important to farmers coping with a drought and a Postal Service bill dealing with politically unpopular but inevitable post office closings and a scaling back of mail delivery.
“There is no excuse not to bring the farm bill to the floor,” Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said Friday. “We’ve wasted the last two weeks on political messaging bills that are going nowhere.”
That doesn’t appear likely to change before Congress departs for a five-week August recess. In the final week before the break, the Republican-controlled House is set to vote on a bill to extend for one year the Bush-era tax cuts, including those for wealthier people. Again, that’s a bill that the Senate would reject, but it will lay down stakes as the election approaches.
Source: AP/ NYT