Farm Bill Remains Stuck

The 2012 Farm Bill remains stuck in the House of Representatives, political insiders report, with little chance of passing before the end of the year. Without a new farm bill, or at least a temporary extension of the expired farm bill, farmers and rural Americans are facing serious questions about farm policy in the upcoming year.

For the past several months, the farm bill has been stalled in Congress. While the Senate passed a version of the farm bill (one that cut farm subsidies and reduced farm spending by about $20 billion) and the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the farm bill (one that cut more than $30 billion, with much of it coming from food stamp funding), the full House refused to vote on either measure.

House Republicans, defending the GOP leadership’s decision to block a vote on the bill, argued that there were not enough votes to pass the legislation. “We didn’t take our version of the (farm) bill to the floor because we simply don’t have the votes to get it passed,” said Texas Rep. Mike Conaway.

Democrats challenged this argument, stating that the Speaker was playing politics with the measure. They attempted to pass a discharge measure that would force the farm bill to a vote, but failed to get enough signatures.

With Congress focusing on the fiscal cliff, it appears increasingly unlikely that a five-year farm bill will pass. While some representatives and farm advocacy groups are pushing for a temporary extension of the expired farm bill, even this measure is uncertain, leaving farmers facing an increasingly bitter harvest in 2013.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer