Supporters of new, long-term farm and food policy continued last week to press the issue politically and procedurally in the face of House leadership that is intransigent in its unwillingness to take up the House Agriculture Committee-approved bill.

More than a dozen Members of Congress joined the Farm Bill Now rally held on the Capitol grounds Wednesday, with many encouraging farmers and stakeholders to call all Congressional offices, every day, pressing a new farm bill. 

Thursday, Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), a member of the House Leadership herself, and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) circulated a Dear Colleague letter asking House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to meet and discuss the farm bill. It was sent Friday with 40 signatories.

Also Thursday, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) filed a discharge petition, which is something of a political Hail Mary pass, aiming to bring the legislation to the full House. 

If the petition gains 218 signatures, it will force floor consideration of the bill under an open rule.

As of Friday afternoon, 53 Members of Congress had signed on, with a full list available at 

House Republican Leaders continue to say there are not the needed votes available to pass new, long-term legislation to replace the 2008 farm bill, which expires Sept. 30.

This contention is heavily debated by House Democrats, Senators and agriculture stakeholders who see the blockage as primarily political.

 House leaders seem somewhat more open to further consideration of a disaster assistance package, though the body already passed one disaster bill before leaving for the August recess.