House Fails to Pass Farm Bill

More information on the House of Representatives Failure to pass their version of a 2013 farm bill: As we reported earlier, the House rejected passage of a new farm bill (the Senate has already passed their version) by a vote of 234-195. You can see how your congressperson voted here. For beginning and aspiring farmers this is bad news, since the beginning farmer program is one of the many that has been unfunded since the 2007 bill expired last September. As the Michael fields Agricultural Institute reports"...the lack of a Farm Bill continues the status quo, which means that many programs that have gone unfunded will continue to go unfunded: beginning farmer programs, value-added programs, organic programs, local food programs, renewable energy programs, and so many more." Typically, the seems to have been killed by the deep political divisions that exist in this congress. Republicans voted against the bill because they believed it was too expensive, and Democrats voted against it largely because they didn't believe it included enough funding for food assistance programs. According to To the Center for Rural Affairs "The final passage of the House Farm Bill failed in part because of huge cuts to the food stamp program and because the rules established for the debate did not allow for further consideration of needed reforms to federal crop insurance premium subsidies. The House Rules Committee did not allow amendments that would have reduced premium subsidies for those making over $750,000 in adjusted gross income. Nor did they allow a vote on an amendment that would have placed a cap on federal crop insurance premium subsidies to mega-farmers.  This failed vote sends a clear signal that the Farm Bill needs to include much greater reform to achieve passage." The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) reported that "very early on the morning of Wednesday, June 19, the House Rules Committee decided ...which amendments members of the House of Representatives [would] vote on...  The final list included 103 amendments, but excluded several of the most important amendments related to crop insurance reform, rural development, local food promotion, organic agriculture, and outreach and assistance to minority farmers and ranchers." You can read more about the process, debate on amendments, and House rejection of the bill from NSAC. What happens next is anyone's guess. There has been some talk of reviving debate in a few weeks, though some insiders think this is unlikely. So for now, and possibly for the foreseeable future,  many farmers are simply being left out in the cold.

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  1. In Depth Analysis of Failure of House Farm Bill
  2. House Passes a Farm Bill, without Food Stamps

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