House fails to pass a new Farm Bill in June
Thursday, June 20
On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a new farm bill.
After a lengthy debate on farm bill amendments on Wednesday and continuing through Thursday morning, House GOP leadership and the leaders of the House Agriculture Committee were not able to secure enough votes to pass the bill in the early afternoon. The House bill failed by a vote of 195-234.
Just prior to the vote on the bill as a whole, the Republican majority of Members passed a food stamp amendment by Rep. Southerland (R-FL) to allow states to add work requirements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This helped doom any chance of House Democrats supporting the bill. But even without that amendment, it seemed unlikely the bill would have passed: Democrats did not want to cut funds for food stamps and some Republicans wanted even deeper cuts to this popular nutrition assistance program.
Also during Thursday morning’s debate, the House passed by a vote of 230-194 an amendment by Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE) to limit farm commodity payments and close eligibility loopholes in farm commodity programs. (The Senate version of the farm bill passed a couple weeks ago includes these same commonsense reforms.) It was the first time that an amendment to include commodity payment limit reform in a farm bill was adopted by the full House. This bodes well for subsidy reform in a new farm bill.
For now, though, it is unclear what the path forward now is for the 2013 Farm Bill. Stay tuned for a more analysis and fall-out from the failure of the House to pass a new farm bill.