Pelosi: Ag disaster bill is a sign of GOP's inability to govern

The GOP's drought assistance bill, slated for a floor vote Thursday, is just the latest symptom of Republicans' inability to govern, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charged Thursday.

The California Democrat said Republicans' decision to take up the one-year emergency drought measure in lieu of a broader, longer-term farm bill "is indicative of the failure of this do-nothing Republican Congress."

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"We should have a farm bill ... [and] our economy needs us to have a farm bill," Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. "This is a responsibility we know we have, so this is an indication of the bankruptcy of the Republicans to get the job done."

Such accusations have been a common refrain in this Congress, where House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled to rally his conference behind a growing list of must-pass legislation. Proposals to reform the U.S. Postal Service and extend the Violence Against Women Act, for instance, have passed through the Senate with bipartisan support, only to hit a brick wall in the House.

Legislation to fund infrastructure and transportation programs followed a similar trajectory earlier this summer, passing only after House GOP leaders dropped their demands to force the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Senate's five-year farm bill is the latest proposal to clear the upper chamber with GOP backing then stall in the face of House GOP opposition. House Republican leaders had pushed a one-year extension instead, only to yank that bill Tuesday after finding it lacked enough support to pass.

Instead, GOP leaders are pushing their one-year bill to provide disaster assistance mainly to livestock owners — aid that expired in 2011.

Pelosi and other House Democrats have not overlooked the trend.

"The Senate has gotten the job done in a bipartisan way. We should be able to pass a [farm] bill in the House that goes to conference," she said Thursday. "So, again, I see this as indicative of failure."

Pelosi declined to say whether she'll support the measure, which is scheduled for a House vote Thursday afternoon, but pointed to several parts of the bill she opposes, including cuts to conservation programs.

"I have doubts about this legislation," she said.

Still, she was quick to add that Democratic leaders are not urging rank-and-file members to vote one way or another.

"Members will do what's in the interest of their communities," she said.