MESSAGE FROM THE DEMOCRATIC WHIP
This week, House Republicans failed to pass a farm bill providing certainty to America’s farmers after they added harmful partisan amendments to the original bill that would make drastic cuts to critical nutrition programs. This Republican farm bill would have cut $20.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, of which half of its beneficiaries are children. In addition, their bill did not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms, and failed to provide funding for renewable energy, which is an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country. With the inclusion of partisan provisions and amendments, Republicans ended a long history of bipartisan support for the farm bill and failed to secure the votes needed for final passage from their own members. I hope that we can take action soon so that we can provide the essential support our nation’s nutrition programs, farmers and agricultural communities need.
We also need to reach a bipartisan compromise to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1. This week I signed a discharge petition to bring forward legislation by Congressman Joe Courtney (CT) to temporarily freeze student loan interest rates at 3.4%, keeping rates low until a long-term compromise is reached. We should not be placing additional financial burdens on our students striving to complete their higher education. I remain committed to reaching a bipartisan compromise before the end of the month so that students can afford to pursue higher education.
The most important thing Congress can do to provide certainty to American families, businesses and the economy is to finish our work on a budget that replaces the sequester and places our nation back on a fiscally sustainable path. It has been over 90 days since the House and Senate both passed a budget, yet House Republican leaders refuse to appoint conferees to negotiate a final agreement. Yesterday, I signed a discharge petition that would bring to the House Floor a resolution that calls on Speaker John Boehner to continue the budget process and appoint conferees. I remain hopeful that the growing bipartisan chorus of legislators will encourage the Republican leadership to take action on this issue so that we can provide a fiscal blueprint for our nation.
STENY H. HOYER
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