Legislative Activity

House Farm Bill.

Last Thursday, June 20, the House failed to pass its version of the Farm Bill by a vote of 195 to 234. Overall, 171 Republicans voted for the measure and 62 opposed the measure due to concerns that there was still too much spending on farm subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Among Democrats, only 24 voted in favor of the bill and 172 opposed the bill because of the $20.5 billion in cuts to SNAP. Some Democrats opposed the bill only after the House passed an amendment that would eliminate the supply management program from the Dairy Security Act (DSA), which was incorporated into the base text of the Farm Bill. The DSA provided a dairy margin insurance program coupled with a supply management program for farmers.

The rejection of the Farm Bill was a serious blow to House Agriculture Committee leadership, as well as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) who had all supported the bill. It is likely that the House will not reach an agreement to bring the bill back to the floor before it expires on September 30. This means that Congress may need to pass another extension of the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure that farm and nutrition programs continue. At this time, however, next steps are unclear.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, June 26: The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard.
  • Thursday, June 27: The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a hearing on school meal regulations.