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Meredith Shiner reported today at Roll Call Online that, "Facing no clear consensus on a long-term farm bill, or even a one-year extension, House Republicans today pushed a stand-alone drought assistance measure, fearing Members otherwise would leave for August recess without any action to take home to struggling farmers and ranchers.
Leadership had been scrambling to approve an unpopular one-year reauthorization of farm programs that Senate Democrats already said would be dead on arrival. And with an astounding 80 percent of the contiguous United States currently under drought conditions - according to the National Drought Mitigation Center - top GOP sources expressed serious concern about the optics of doing nothing to aid farmers at the height of summer.
"In a private, closed-door meeting in Speaker John Boehner's office late this afternoon, leaders decided they could gin up enough votes to proceed with extending emergency benefits to farmers in duress. But they did not rule out having to twist GOP arms or appeal for Democrats' support."
Today's Roll Call article quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) as saying, 'We have a very good farm bill that includes drought relief that is very significant,' Reid said in his weekly media availability with reporters. 'I think what the House should do is take these provisions we have in the bill we sent them, and if they want to do something about drought relief, send that to us.'