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Farm Bill Stalls as Congress Goes on Recess

The U.S. House of Representatives intended to move on a one-year extension of the Farm Bill last week. However, support from both sides of the aisle faded and the House was only able to pass a drought-relief measure last Thursday
August 8, 2012

The U.S. House of Representatives intended to move on a one-year extension of the Farm Bill last week. However, support from both sides of the aisle faded and the House was only able to pass a drought-relief measure last Thursday. The Senate did not take the drought-relief bill up prior to its recess so the legislation remains in limbo. Both the House and Senate are now out of session and an impasse continues on the five-year Farm Bill. While the Senate’s work on the Farm Bill is complete (for now), Speaker John Boehner has noted that he doesn’t believe he has enough votes to pass the House’s version.

Chances are slim that action on the five-year Farm Bill will be completed by the September 30 expiration, although a grassroots push during the August recess could help keep the issue on the forefront and add pressure to congressional leaders. One of the biggest issues is a division over whether or not to cut the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps) which accounts for nearly 50 percent of the spending in the Farm Bill.

The 2008 Farm Bill contained over $6 billion in cuts and the most recent Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) included additional cuts to the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) totaling $6 billion. The SRA incorporates totally unnecessary caps on insurance agent compensation and threatens to undermine the financial success of the program. PIA opposes any additional cuts to the crop insurance program through the 2012 Farm Bill, or through any other legislative or regulatory move. PIA National encourages all PIA members to participate in the 2012 PIA District Lobbying Day this month and make your views on the Farm Bill known to your members of Congress.

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