House peels off food stamps, passes farm bill

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The U.S House of Representatives on Thursday passed its version of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 by a largely party-line vote of 216-208. In this version of the bill, the House removed the nutrition title, which funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which the House plans to address separately in a later vote. The next step would be for a joint House-Senate conference committee to develop a compromise bill. The Senate has passed their version, which includes the nutrition title and SNAP funding, so it is unclear whether such a compromise is likely or even possible.

checklist "Today was an important step toward enacting a five-year farm bill this year that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty, provides regulatory relief to small businesses across the country, significantly reduces spending, and makes common-sense, market-oriented reforms to agricultural policy,” says Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who serves as Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee. “I look forward to continuing conversations with my House colleagues and starting conversations with my Senate colleagues on a path forward that ultimately gets a farm bill to the President's desk in the coming months."

Passage of the Farm-only bill has drawn mixed reviews from agricultural groups, with some relieved to have progress toward the risk-management and disaster-assistance provisions farmers need, and some concerned that splitting farm programs from SNAP will endanger support among urban lawmakers.

“Today the House took the unprecedented step in separating the nutrition title from the farm bill, and passing a bill that only encompasses agriculture,” says NCBA president Scott George . This step is a major departure from the usual business of agricultural policy, but I am pleased that cattlemen and women are one step closer toward final legislation which not only provides certainty for producers, but also incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry.

“We are very pleased that this legislation includes disaster programs for our producers, which will extend disaster assistance for five years and retroactively covers losses in 2012 and 2013. The legislation authorizes conservation programs important to cattle producers as a tool to leverage private dollars with some federal support to further protect the land and natural resources. It contains language to prevent the United States Department of Agriculture from moving forward on the proposed GIPSA rule from the 2008 Farm Bill.”

 National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson expressed his organization’s opposition to the legislation. “Today’s strictly partisan vote to pass the farm bill apart from the nutrition title undermines the long-time coalition of support for a unified, comprehensive farm bill which has historically been written on a bipartisan basis,” he says.

Last week, NFU led a coalition of 532 organizations in writing a letter calling for the House not to split the bill. This broad-based coalition, composed of agriculture, conservation, rural development, finance, forestry, energy and crop insurance companies and organizations, NFU says, is now being undermined by extreme partisan political organizations that do not represent constituents affected by the farm bill

The Illinois Farm Bureau also opposed H.R. 2642 because it would break up the farm bill coalition, eliminate the incentive to write future farm bills, and threaten the future viability of crop insurance.

“Despite our opposition today, IFB will continue to play a constructive role in the farm bill debate,” the organization wrote in a statement. “We urge House leadership to appoint conferees and encourage all parties to work in good faith to enact a mutually acceptable, bipartisan five-year farm bill that provides long sought after policy certainty for farmers and consumers alike.”

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July, 12, 2013 at 06:30 AM

I have a solution to this whole poor/unfed problem. You simply create camps all across the country and exterminate all the poor people. Seems tea-turds and repugnents want to slowly kill the vermin off anyway. Let's just do it quickly.

July, 12, 2013 at 06:33 AM

Y dont u just kill yourself

orlando  |  July, 12, 2013 at 06:42 AM

If you killed us off for being poor now what would that make the people that are now rich when all the poor is dead?

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  July, 12, 2013 at 08:55 AM

There are some problems associated with splitting public food assistance programs off of the farm bill. The first problem is that you have a bill benefitting a sector of the economy that is not understood and frequently not supported by a majority of legislators and the public at large. Tieing farm programs and food programs together gave Agriculture a political relevance that was very advantageous. All of you splitters had better be on your political relations "A" game during the term of this Farm Bill, or there won't be a Farm Bill in 2018. The second problem we will harvest from this split is the lack of automatic review of the food assistance entitlements. The Farm Bill comes up for review every five years. Welfare programs don't. They chug along as written until someone decides to pull them off the table for public examination and revision. How many senators or representatives will have the courage to do that. This split may lead to quick passage of the Farm Bill that we need. But make no mistake about it, there will be repercussions. Are we prepared to deal with them?

Colo  |  July, 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It is cruelly ironic that a lot of those who had to turn to food stamps were forced into that position because of the gambling and fraud of the banksters and Wall Street (which hasn't slowed down one iota) and they are the sponsors of our well-fed "leaders".

NE  |  July, 15, 2013 at 10:08 PM


SD  |  July, 17, 2013 at 06:30 PM

Possibly the separation will show the facts of the financial benefits of the so called FARM BILL, with clearly over 80% of the money going to the Food Welfare programs, with NO production from them. The 20% going to farmers is contrasted with the value of what those farmers produce, and that is a phenomenally large number of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, not to mention the fact that farmers pay a pretty high rate of Federal Income taxes, Death tax. local property taxes, sales taxes, state income, and all other local, state, and national taxes assesed to us. WHile I don't necessarily agree with the Farm Programs, it obviously is a boon and a bargain for ALL citizens, and especially for those getting the formal food assistance.