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Reid: No farm bill extension, House should pass bill

Speaking in unusually frank terms, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said late Monday that the Senate would not pass an extension of the 2008 farm bill as it did last year, that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed with him, and that the House should take up the Senate bill.

“I want everyone within the sound of my voice, as well as my colleagues on the other side of the Capitol, to know that the Senate will not pass another temporary farm bill extension,” according to a transcript provided by Farm Policy.com.

Reid also said that the failure of the House to pass the farm bill last Thursday was “the first time the House of Representatives had voted down a farm bill since the program was created.”

Reid also noted that he has often said that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, “has one of the toughest jobs in Washington,” but that he was disappointed that the Republican leadership blamed Democrats for the failure of the bill.

Noting that the bill would have made cuts to the food stamp program, Reid said, “It was no surprise House Democrats opposed this mean-spirited bill ... We’ve seen this film before. The speaker can’t jam through legislation that amounts to a partisan love note to the Tea Party. Eventually he’ll be forced to take up a more bipartisan measure.”

Reid then suggested that the House take up the Senate bill.

“Passing the Senate farm bill would create jobs while reducing the deficit by $23 billion,” Reid said. “And it would make important reforms to both farm and food stamp programs without balancing the budget on the backs of hungry Americans.”

Reid added, “I’ve spoken to Secretary Vilsack and we agree that maintaining the status quo is not an option.”

The Reid speech was covered by both The Associated Press and Reuters.