On Saturday, September 28, in its fast-track rule to consider the continuing resolution, the House approved (by a vote of 226-191) a rule to merge its “agriculture-only” bill and the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 (H.R. 3102), which would cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) funding by $39 billion over the next 10 years. The House will send this combined farm bill to the Senate.

The Senate will likely reject the bill and instead initiate farm bill conferencing, which the Senate originally initiated prior to the August recess. As part of the process, the Senate will reappoint its conferees, and the House will then appoint its conferees. The Senate conferees are: Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN),  Michael Bennet (D-CO), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Boozman (R-AR), and John Hoeven (R-ND).

Currently, it is unclear whether the House leadership will only appoint conferees who serve on the Agriculture Committee, but Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) will continue his push for committee members to serve as conferees, especially his subcommittee chairmen. Should the House leadership appoint conferees who do not serve on the Agriculture Committee, this will signal that the House leadership will want to maintain its control of the farm bill proceedings, as it has in the drafting and passage of the SNAP reform bill.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, October 2: The  House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management will convene a hearing on “CFTC Outlook.”
  • Thursday, October 3: The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a hearing on “Advanced Biofuels and Jobs.”