House to Vote Today on Farm Policy-Only Farm Bill

July 11, 2013 02:18 AM

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House GOP leaders likely have votes to finally clear modified House farm bill

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The House Rules Committee Wednesday evening issued a closed rule for a modified farm bill without a nutrition title and a repeal of the 1938 and 1949 Act as permanent legislation, replacing that with the new proposed Title 1 language. The full House chamber will vote today on the measure which is now HR 2642. It includes all of the previously approved amendments.

The Rules panel backed, 9-4 , a closed rule (HRes 295) to govern debate on the modified measure, a move that blocks any further amendment. The nutrition programs, which include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/food stamps, will be put into a separate bill, but leaders have given no details of when the House will take action on that measure. Of note, the White House late Wednesday issued a veto threat against the latest version, saying it "fails to reauthorize nutrition programs, which benefit millions of Americans — in rural, suburban and urban areas alike... The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our nation’s food assistance safety net, and should not be left behind as the rest of the farm bill advances," the statement said.

Democratic votes will be few to none. Rules ranking Democrat Louise Slaughter of New York. "We’ve been asked now to take everybody’s word for it that you’re going to get around to nutrition sometime, and frankly that trust hasn’t been earned on our side." Slaughter predicted that the Agriculture panel’s top Democrat, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, would not vote for the bill. Peterson, who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, voiced concern in a statement: "I still believe splitting the farm bill is a mistake in the long run ... and I see no clear path to getting a bill passed by the House and Senate and signed by the president."

House GOP leaders believe they can pass the measure over the opposition of farm groups and some conservative organizations. The majority leader's office announced the vote just before midnight.

Comments: The White House veto threat is typical of this administration --issuing such a threat after it prods the GOP-led House to take action on bills. If a farm bill conference reports ever is agreed to, sources say President Obama will sign it into law.

The repeal of permanent farm bill legislation (1938 and 1949) Acts is long overdue, replacing it with the new proposed Title 1. That move is being opposed by both the American Farm Bureau Federation (which is actively whipping against the House farm bill passage) and the National Farmers Union. This would likely be the first time a House farm bill could be passed without the support of the two major farm groups. Some commodity groups are helping to support the pending House measure including rice, peanuts, cotton, the United Fresh Produce Assn., Florida, Texas and Louisiana sugar, the NCBA, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and rural electric coops. Should the repeal language stick, it would be one of, if not the biggest, farm policy reform measures in the bill. Democratic lawmakers do not support the move, a position aligned with some farm group lobbyists. However, replacing that with the new Title I language would in essence mean a farm bill longer bill than the five years of the pending farm bill because the Title 1 programs would be extended should Congress not ink another new farm bill. Conservation, trade and other programs would would not be part of any new permanent legislation -- but those titles have NEVER been part of permanent legislation. And conservation groups have wide bipartisan support so this should not prove to be any major concern. 


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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