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House Fails to Pass a Farm Bill

The U.S. House could not muster enough votes to pass the Farm Bill last Thursday...
June 26, 2013

The U.S. House could not muster enough votes to pass the Farm Bill last Thursday. It failed 195-234. One hundred seventy two [172] Democrats and 62 Republicans voted against the bill that needed 218 votes to pass. The food stamp program, known as SNAP, was the “killer issue,” with 172 Democrats and 63 “tea-party” Republicans joining forces to vote down the entire bill. The food stamp cuts were $20 billion over ten years, causing the Democrats to object, while the GOP conservatives wanted more than $30 billion in cuts; $5 billion in annual crop subsidies would also have been eliminated, with the savings diverted into the crop insurance program and new subsidies created for peanut, cotton and rice farmers.

So what’s next? After a couple of weeks of the “DC blame game,” Agriculture Committee leaders might try to bring the bill back with some changes. Or it might be dead until the next session – but with 2013 not an election year, nothing changes in the House. There still seems to be a desire to “pass something” and get it into conference. The current extension of the Farm Bill is good until Sept 30, 2013. Another extension appears likely.

The impact of the uncertainty surrounding the Farm Bill on crop insurance is minimal. While the Farm Bill can make major reforms to the crop insurance program, its reauthorization is done through a different law.

What It Means to Agents: PIA is discouraged that the House failed to pass a Farm Bill. America’s farmers need a sound, reliable crop insurance program that is delivered by professional independent insurance agents. We appreciate House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas’ leadership on this issue and are determined to see a long-term Farm Bill get through Congress.

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