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Sen. Leahy remains a workhorse after four decades in D.C.

Posted on February 6, 2014 |
By Zach Despart



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Editor’s note: Democrat Patrick Leahy, now 73, was the state’s attorney for Chittenden County when he was elected to represent Vermont in the U.S. Senate in 1974. Now the longest-serving active senator, he has the perspective, the connections and the power to accomplish a lot for his state and his country. Our reporter spent a day with Sen. Leahy last week, watching the veteran politician hard at work in the nation’s capital.

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U.S. Senate passes Farm Bill, Obama ready to sign it

Posted on February 6, 2014 |
By Zach Despart



WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate on Tuesday passed a farm bill that emerged from a conference committee two weeks ago, ending more than two years of gridlock over the omnibus piece of legislation.

Both of Vermont’s senators voted for the bill.

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New session, same old story on farm bill

Posted on January 16, 2014 |
By Zach Despart



WASHINGTON, D.C. — After reconvening for the new session, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have found themselves again gridlocked over a new federal farm bill.

When Congress got back to business Jan. 6, some members expressed a belief that a new bill could be sent to President Obama before the Martin Luther King Jr. Day break. But those hopes were dashed as a new bill will not make it out of the 41-member conference committee to the floors of the House and Senate before members head home at the end of this week.

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Sen. Leahy sees hope for a new Farm Bill

Posted on December 19, 2013 |
By Michelle Monroe



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ST. ALBANS — At a stop at a dairy cooperative in St. Albans earlier this month, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he believes a Congressional conference committee is close to a compromise on a new Farm Bill, despite the wide gulf between the House and Senate versions.

“There have been a lot of quiet meetings,” said Leahy. “In those meetings there is a different feeling than we had a year ago.”

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New farm bill has glimmer of hope

Posted on November 4, 2013 |
By Zach Despart



WASHINGTON, D.C. — A cohort of legislators met in the capitol Wednesday in an attempt to find common ground on a new farm bill. But they made no real progress toward resolving differences between the U.S. Senate and House over legislation that covers a range of programs that affect dairy farmers, those who get food assistance and other Vermonters.

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Dairies endangered as farm bill expires

Posted on September 30, 2013 |
By Zach Despart



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ADDISON COUNTY — The anticipated expiration of the U.S. farm bill on Tuesday could increase uncertainty for one of Addison County’s major business sectors, as well as cast the future of food security programs used by local residents in doubt.

“Dairy farmers will be left without a safety net,” Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont’s lone congressman, said on Friday.

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Rep. Welch calls House Farm Bill a 'stunt'

Posted on July 18, 2013 |
By By MICHELLE MONROE St. Albans Messenger



ST. ALBANS — The House of Representatives passed a stripped down Farm Bill last Thursday night without dairy programs and food stamps. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., called it “a political stunt.”

The bill passed 216-208, without a single Democrat supporting it.

“This is less a Farm Bill than a leadership designed train wreck,” said Welch. “This has got all the earmarks of a political fix.”

The bill was debated under rules prohibiting legislators from offering amendments.

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Dairy cliff averted, farm bill back to square one

Posted on January 7, 2013 |
By Xian Chiang-Waren



VERMONT — Under the shadow of fiscal cliff negotiations, Congress last week also passed measures to avert an anticipated spike in milk prices, which in the absence of a new Farm Bill was set to occur on the first of the year.

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Dairy farmers lose federal safety net

Posted on October 8, 2012 |
By Michelle Monroe (St. Albans Messenger)



ST. ALBANS — When the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned on Sept. 28 without passing a new Farm Bill, it not only left dairy farmers without a safety net, it raised the specter of chaos in agricultural markets.

In effect, Congress’s failure to act could trigger a so-called permanent law that, it is estimated, could raise the parity price of milk to the $40 per hundredweight (cwt.) range.

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Critical farm bill stalled in house

Posted on August 2, 2012 |
By Andrea Suozzo



WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2012 federal farm bill, which determines five years of agriculture and nutrition policy, could be postponed for another year, according to U.S. House of Representatives majority leaders.

That prospect left Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., concerned by the prospect of a one-year extension of current agricultural policies and its potential effects on Vermont farmers.

“This would be very harmful to Vermont dairy farmers and others around the county,” said Welch on Tuesday.

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