House Farm Bill is Resoundingly Defeated

Mark Keating's picture

The journey towards a new Farm Bill took another detour last Thursday when the U.S. House of Representatives rejected by a vote of 234 to 195 the proposal which Republican leadership brought to the floor.

Multiple factors contributed to this outcome: Democrats overwhelmingly voted against the bill which included onerous changes to federal nutrition assistance programs and many Republicans who wanted to see more reform and savings from the commodity programs joined them. The House Agriculture Committee acknowledged when submitting this bill that they had a narrow pathway to passage and in the end, they could not attract enough support to get there.

What does the House bill’s defeat mean for passing a Farm Bill this year?  There will be enormous pressure on the House leadership to revise and resubmit its proposal because everyone affected by the Farm Bill wants the certainty of a five year deal.  The current extension of the 2008 Farm Bill expires on September 30 and there is little appetite for simply extending it again.  Provisions for the nutrition assistance programs, commodity and crop insurance programs are the obvious friction points holding back the House Bill, and somebody is going to have to blink for a compromise agreement to be achieved.  Some active in the debate suggest that having separate votes on the Farm Bill’s core agricultural and nutrition assistance programs could break the log jam.  What do you think is needed to get Washington back to work on behalf of our nation’s farmers?

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