Schock says it's a good thing to link both deals together; Durbin says it's not a necessity. (WJBC file photo)
By Nick Gale
PEORIA - Congressman Aaron Schock believes there will be a link between a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and coming to a compromise on the Farm Bill.
Schock said this weekend that any deal cut to avoid the fiscal cliff could include a deal on the Farm Bill.
“The expectation now is the Farm Bill will be included in whatever package is negotiated relative to the fiscal cliff,” Schock said.
Sen. Dick Durbin doesn’t see it that way. Durbin said his chamber has passed a Farm Bill and the House has had ample time to act on it. He added they must act soon.
“The Senate passed a bi-partisan farm bill,” Durbin said. “The House of Representatives has refused to even call a Farm Bill and the Senate-passed bill saves $23 billion towards deficit reduction. If the House of Representatives would just roll up their sleeves and pass the Senate Farm Bill we could start reducing the deficit there in a way supported, not only by a bi-partisan group of senators, but by every major farm group. [House Speaker John] Boehner has just refused to call the bill. I don’t believe that’s a responsible position.”
Those debating the Farm Bill in Congress appear to be hung up on two issues: Reductions in food stamps as well as cuts in crop subsidies.
Schock believes it's a good thing to link the two together.
"It's good news for our ag industry and good news for our farmers," said Schock. "Hopefully we will have a multi-year Farm Bill as a result of the fiscal cliff negotiations."
Zach Dietmeier contributed to this story. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.