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House Passes 'Farm-Only' Farm Bill

Flurry of activity wraps up Thursday's Farm Bill action in the House

Published on: Jul 11, 2013

In a raucous display on the House floor, lawmakers Thursday voted to 216-208 in favor of passing a "farm only" Farm Bill.

Though unclear at the beginning of the week just how lawmakers would move forward on the Farm Bill, House leadership believed they were ultimately able to collect enough support for a "splitting the bill" – keeping the nutrition provisions separate from farm-related provisions such as crop insurance.

The House Rules Committee in late-night discussion approved the move, though they barred lawmakers from making further amendments to the bill. But that didn't go over well with many Representatives who chastised the GOP for leaving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provisions behind.

Flurry of activity wraps up Thursdays Farm Bill action in the House
Flurry of activity wraps up Thursday's Farm Bill action in the House

Major differences in the new legislation, named H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, include a full repeal of 1938 and 1949 legislation, USDA program consolidation and inclusion of the Goodlatte-Scott dairy act.

While Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., acknowledged that the "farm-only Farm Bill" didn't represent everything that was brought up during discussion bill in June, he said it is a step in the right direction.

"It's no secret that my preference would have been to pass HR 1947 last month – but that didn't happen," noted Lucas. "This is a step forward to getting the farm bill on the books this year."

But there was plenty of opposition – even from the Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who said splitting the bill could lead to a departure from regular order and a farm bill hanging in the balance.

Peterson noted that had the "poison pill" amendments been removed from the House Farm Bill in June, there were votes to pass the full bill. But now, with provisions to eliminate '30s and '40s policies and include the Goodlatte-Scott, Peterson said he couldn't vote for the bill.

What's more, Peterson argued, those changes would mean that another farm bill will never be written.

"If you want to make sure congress never considers another farm bill…then vote for this bill," Peterson said, explaining the changes could mean permanent authorization of farm programs and therefore no additional changes to vegetable or fruit programs, title one programs and conservation provisions.