House Ag Panel Clears Farm Bill

July 12, 2012 12:47 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Food stamp funding cuts remain at $16.1 billion, with no major changes via amendments

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The House Ag Committee early this morning approved, 35-11, a $957 billion farm bill (HR 6083) after methodically considering scores of amendments, fending off efforts to temper previous cuts to food stamp funding, keeping the cutback for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at $16.1 billion. The Senate bill would trim SNAP by $4 billion over 10 years. The House bill is estimated to save $35 billion over ten years – $12 billion above the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score for the Senate bill.

The votes against the measure included seven Democrats and four Republicans.

The panel also nixed efforts to change dairy and sugar policies.

The panel easily rejected, 17-29, an amendment by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would have eliminated supply management from the dairy price support in the bill. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member on the panel, said, "I don’t love market stabilization, but this is necessary for at least five years."

Meanwhile, an attempt to alter sugar policy, another move by Goodlatte, was rejected via a 10 to 36 vote. It would have repealed some existing sugar policy provisions enacted in 2008, rolled back price support levels and given the Agriculture secretary greater authority to modify or suspend domestic marketing allowances.

Assessing workload at USDA field offices. The committee adopted by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) that would require USDA to assess the workload of field offices and solicit public comment before going forward with closures.

COOL amendment. An amendment passed by a 34-12 vote which requires USDA to report within 90 days to Congress on how it plans to change country-of-origin (COOL) labeling to prevent retaliatory actions by Mexico and Canada.


USDA Undersecretary for Trade. The Ag panel passed an amendment by voice vote that requires USDA to establish and Undersecretary for Trade. The language was supported by 25 food and ag organizations.

GIPSA rule amendment. The committee approved an amendment that repeals the GIPSA rules finalized since 2008 and prohibits USDA from finalizing remaining rules. Congressional members shared that it was needed in response to USDA's overarching reach in its initial proposed rules. Peterson warned that the move is "opening up one huge can of worms and I don't think it's smart."

An amendment was approved by voice vote that would bar states from regulating how agricultural goods are produced so as to restrict access to goods from other states. Examples cited were how states might set rules for the treatment of poultry in egg production.

Comments: House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Peterson scored a big win and unlike the Senate Ag Committee provided members with extended time to bring up their amendments. The next hurdle is whether or not and when House GOP leaders bring the matter to the floor, as some observers think that may not happen until after Nov.6 elections. But the broad support for the measure will likely up the odds of eventual House consideration.


The final vote was


YEAS (35)

Republicans (22)

Conaway (Texas)

Crawford (Ark.)

DesJarlais (Tenn.)

Ellmers (N.C.)

Fortenberry (Neb.)

Gibson, C. (N.Y.)

Hartzler (Mo.)

Hultgren (Ill.)

Johnson, Timothy (Ill.)

King, S. (Iowa)

Lucas (Okla.)

Neugebauer (Texas)

Noem (S.D.)

Ribble (Wis.)

Roby (Ala.)

Rooney (Fla.)

Schilling (Ill.)

Schmidt (Ohio)

Scott, A. (Ga.)

Southerland (Fla.)

Thompson, G. (Pa.)

Tipton (Colo.)



Democrats (13)

Boswell (Iowa)

Cardoza (Calif.)

Costa (Calif.)

Cuellar (Texas)

Holden (Pa.)

Kissell (N.C.)

McIntyre (N.C.)

Owens (N.Y.)

Peterson (Minn.)

Sablan (N. Marianas)

Schrader (Ore.)

Walz (Minn.)

Welch (Vt.)



NAYS (11)

Republicans (4)

Gibbs, B. (Ohio)

Goodlatte (Va.)

Huelskamp (Kan.)

Stutzman (Ind.)



Democrats (7)

Baca (Calif.)

Courtney (Conn.)

Fudge (Ohio)

McGovern (Mass.)

Pingree (Maine)

Scott, D. (Ga.)

Sewell (Ala.)





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






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