Some agricultural officials and farm representatives are beginning to blame an intransigent subset of the House of Representatives for the series of farm bill fiascos that have occurred over the last two years.
Last summer, after months of debate, the US Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill; one that, despite serious reservations and misgivings from a number of Senators, easily passed a floor vote with support from members of both parties. The Senate bill eliminated direct payment subsidies, reduced food stamp spending, and increased crop insurance subsidies.
Republican leadership, unwilling to vote on a major spending bill in the middle of a contentious presidential election, killed this bipartisan bill in the House. The failure of the 2012 Farm Bill led to the passage of a temporary farm bill extension, which was intended to tide over farmers until a new Congress could pass a new, five-year bill.
This last summer, however, the House of Representatives once again killed bipartisan Senate bill, refusing to vote on Senate legislation and attempting to pass a House version of the farm bill. This version, which was defeated the first time it came up for a vote, eventually stripped food stamps and nutritional spending from agricultural spending, separating farm legislation from food stamps for the first time in fifty years.
Farmers across the country have reacted with shock to the House move. Many are concerned that, without support from urban representatives (support that food stamp programs garnered), they may not be able to pass another farm bill. In addition, some farmers are beginning to see the House’s refusal to appoint a conference committee to hammer out differences between the House and Senate farm bills as proof that many House leaders are not serious about passing a new farm bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer