With all eyes focused on the immigration reform debate, a bit of a shocker went down on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The 2013 Farm Bill failed passage by a vote of 195 to 243. On the Republican side, 62 representatives broke from majority-party support to oppose the legislation. On the Democrat side, 24 voted in favor of the bill, while 172 opposed it.
The bill hit a snag with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Some lawmakers felt proposed cuts to SNAP funding were too high, while others argued cuts were not enough. The net effect of the disagreement is a failed Farm Bill with no immediate indication of lawmakers’ plan for a path forward.
Industry reaction to the bill’s failure was swift. “We felt we had a very strong bill for specialty crops that was supported by members from both sides of the aisle,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. “We strongly encourage the House Leadership and the House Agriculture Committee to get back together and bring back to the House floor a bill that can pass before the current extension expires at the end of September.”
American Farm Bureau Statement:
The American Farm Bureau Federation is highly disappointed the House did not complete work on the 2013 farm bill, the ‘Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013.’ It was a balanced bill that would have provided much needed risk management tools and a viable economic safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers.
We commend House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for their commitment and hard work in bringing the bill to the floor and working toward its passage. We look forward to working with them as we regroup and move forward. We also appreciate House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for working with the Agriculture Committee leadership to bring the bill to the floor.
A completed farm bill is much needed to provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming years and to allow the Agriculture Department to plan for an orderly implementation of the bill’s provisions.
Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Statement:
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance is deeply disappointed that the House of Representatives did not pass a Farm Bill today and move the bill to conference. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act Act of 2013 was rejected by a vote of 195-234.
The House also failed to pass the 2012 Farm Bill last year with lawmakers opting to instead extend the 2008 Farm Bill to September 30, 2013.