It's August and many Americans are taking well-earned summer vacations. And then there's Congress. House lawmakers took off for their August recess yesterday after refusing to consider a five-year measure to aid America's stricken farmers, reports the New York Times. Instead, they passed a stopgap $383 million disaster aid bill to help some livestock producers hit hard by this summer's devastating drought, along with a modest group of farmers. A bipartisan five-year farm measure has already made it through the Senate, which refused to take up the House's measure.
The House disaster package, which provides assistance to cattle and sheep farmers but not to pork or poultry operations, "is a sad substitute for what is really needed—a long term farm policy," complained the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. The committee's Republican chairman urged his colleagues to "go home and discuss the drought in that 65% of United States that is suffering" before coming back with the momentum to pass a farm bill, Politico reports. (Read more Congress stories.)