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Published September 26, 2013, 05:46 PM

Farm bill deadline looms, N.D. legislators losing hope for bill passage

With the farm bill deadline Monday members of North Dakota's Congressional delegation say they are losing hope a new bill be passed.

By: Cynthia Johnson, WDAZ

With the farm bill deadline Monday members of North Dakota's Congressional delegation say they are losing hope a new bill be passed.

The bill was originally due on September 30th of last year and congress has been working on extensions since then.

Representative Kevin Cramer says Congress will most likely not finish the bill by Monday. This means congress will hope for an extension of the current law, which was passed in 2008. Cramer says that by early next week, the House will try to pass a rule that ties food stamps back to farm titles for one bill. In July, House Republicans passed a stand-alone farm bill that separated the nutrition programs from the overall bill. Cramer says putting the two back together will create a better chance for bipartisan compromise. Senator Heitkamp doesn't believe Congress will get another extension if the deadline is missed this time.

"This Senate stands ready to go to conference," said Heitkamp. "We've been waiting a long long time and the house continues to delay, delay, delay, and as a result we're missing the deadline.

"I find great encouragement in the leadership's willingness and desire to pass a rule that ties the two back together. That certainly makes reconciliation either the Senate in conference committee much easier as well," said Cramer.

Even though the bill expires on Monday, most farm programs will continue until the end of the year because they extend through the crop year. Food stamps are financed through an annual appropriations bill, and their funding will continue despite uncertainty on the farm bill.

Representative Cramer was supposed to be in Grand Forks Friday for Coffee with Cramer, but said he can no longer make it because of the farm bill situation in Washington, DC.

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