SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Congress has left Washington D.C. for its August recess without passing a new Farm Bill.
The current bill expires at the end of September. The Senate has already passed its version and the House Agriculture Committee passed new legislation earlier this month. But the full House has failed to vote on the measure adding fuel to the fire in the South Dakota U.S. House race.
"Not only have they not passed it but they're not voting on it and now they're going to go home on a recess for four or five weeks," South Dakota Democratic U.S. House candidate Matt Varilek said.
Varilek is running against Congresswoman Kristi Noem in November and says Noem should be held accountable for the lack of action on the Farm Bill because of her position in House leadership.
"And it's the leadership team that's choosing not to bring this up for a vote, and so I think she bears some responsibility for the fact that the House is not making any progress on that," Varilek said.
Noem sits on the Agriculture Committee that passed one version of the legislation in July and she's joined 78 other House members in signing a letter to urge Speaker John Boehner to take up the bill.
"I've been able to gather a strong group of Republicans and Democrats to join me in pressuring leadership to bring this bill to the floor," Noem said.
Noem says she's also frustrated the House is not voting on the Farm Bill but adds that she'll continue fighting to make sure the legislation gets passed.
"I've been a vocal advocate for bringing the bill to the floor. In South Dakota we live and breathe agriculture and getting a Farm Bill done means certainty for thousands of farmers and ranchers in our state," Noem said.
But until Congress heads back to Washington D.C. in five weeks there will be uncertainty on if a new Farm Bill will be passed in time.
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