Udall Renews Call on House to Stop Playing Games with Colorado's Forests, Farmers and Ranchers
With the lame-duck Congress under way, Mark Udall renewed his call for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the 2012 Farm Bill that the U.S. Senate approved with broad bipartisan support. The five-year bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion and includes vital resources to assist Colorado farmers, ranchers, and residents suffering from drought and wildfire.
"Since the 2008 Farm Bill's expiration, our constituents have been waiting for Congress to enact a new bill that reflects 2012 needs and priorities. It's past time for the House to give the Senate Farm Bill an up-or-down vote - or, at the very least, debate this five-year reauthorization," Udall said. "With the lame-duck session in progress and time running out, we ought to provide certainty to the forestry and agricultural communities that depend on Farm Bill programs. The 2012 Senate Farm Bill cuts wasteful spending, reduces the deficit while investing in critical conservation programs, and includes provisions I fought for to mitigate the wildfire and drought that have plagued Colorado this summer."
Udall has repeatedly pushed the House to take up the 2012 Farm Bill, including a letter to House leadership prior to the election. Udall successfully amended the 2012 Farm Bill earlier this summer to include provisions to strengthen its forestry title and to double the annual funding for bark beetle mitigation.
In addition to the Udall amendments, the 2012 Farm Bill includes several other critical provisions related to forest health, including streamlining U.S. Forest Service administrative processes so that it can conduct more efficient and effective treatments for insect and disease infestations. The 2012 Farm Bill would also permanently reauthorize Stewardship Contracting, which allows the U.S. Forest Service to contract with small businesses to remove forest products from federal land to improve, maintain and restore forest health; improve wildlife habitat; and reduce the risk of forest fires.