WASHINGTON Dec 4 U.S. House Speaker John
Boehner on Wednesday accused Senate Democrats of blocking the
path to a new U.S. farm bill that would cut food stamp benefits
for the poor and boost crop insurance coverage for farmers.
In a brief speech on the floor of the House of
Representatives, Boehner said Democrats were blocking
"When will they (Senate Democrats) learn to say 'yes' to
common ground?" Boehner, an Ohio Republican, asked rhetorically.
At nearly the same moment, the four lead farm bill negotiators
claimed to have made "great progress" toward a framework after a
Debbie Stabenow, the Senate Agriculture Committee
chairwoman, when asked about Boehner's remarks, said the
comments were "not productive."
"We are just going to work together on a bipartisan farm
bill and get things done," Stabenow said.
Congress is more than a year late with the $500 billion bill
and is not in a position to finish until January at the
earliest, Frank Lucas, one of the key negotiators, said on
The House has proposed $40 billion in food stamp cuts over a
decade, nearly 10 times the level contained in the Senate's plan
and the biggest cut in a generation.
Stabenow dismissed a suggestion floated by Republican aides
this week that negotiators would settle on $10 billion in cuts
in order to sign a deal.
"We'll have an answer when we have an answer. It will be
good policy," she said.