McConnell: Republicans will use farm bill amendments to go after federal regulations

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Speaking Tuesday, McConnell called on Democrats to work with Republicans to consider a host of amendments to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240).

"For our part, Senate Republicans will continue to pursue a pro-jobs agenda, and I would encourage our Democrat friends to join us before the administration's spending and debt spree forces us into the sort of economic spiral we currently see facing our friends across the Atlantic," McConnell said. "And they can start by working with Republicans on our common-sense amendments to the farm bill."

McConnell said the amendments Republicans are submitting are aimed at job creation and cutting unnecessary regulation.

"That’s why Republicans are calling for votes on common-sense amendments that would either eliminate or prevent future job-killing regulations from going into effect, which would provide the necessary relief for American farmers and give a boost to rural America in these challenging economic times," McConnell continued.

As an example, McConnell cited an amendment countering a regulation the Environmental Protection Agency is considering that would require farms and ranchers to enact "undefined measures to lower the amount of dust that occurs naturally and is transmitted into the air due to agriculture production activities."

"Sen. [Mike Johanns, R-Neb.] is offering an amendment that would prevent the EPA from issuing any new rule that regulates agriculture dust," McConnell said.

The EPA has repeatedly stressed that it has no plans to regulate farm dust.

"In these extremely difficult economic times, rural America is already struggling to get by and they simply can’t be bothered by an overreaching federal government that has no idea of the unintended consequences of its policies," McConnell said.

Over the past week both Republican and Democratic senators have introduced a range of amendments to the farm bill. Many of those amendments are not directly related to the actual bill, which could pose a problem to the legislation's passage; most legislation that has made it through the Senate recently has passed only after top Republicans and Democrats in the chamber agreed on a finite list of amendments to consider attaching to legislation. If the Senate cannot agree on which amendments to consider, the farm bill could stall in the chamber.

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