House Leaders Pull One-Year Farm Bill Extension from Agenda

Posted on: August 14th, 2012 by NADO Admin

After planning to move a one-year farm bill extension this week that also included drought aid, House Republican leaders changed course and pulled the bill from the floor schedule, signaling that they did not have the 218 votes needed to pass the measure. Current farm bill law (P.L. 110-246) that was passed in 2008, is set to expire on September 30.

Although the Senate already passed a five-year farm bill reauthorization (S. 3240) on June 21 and the House Agriculture Committee approved its version of the farm bill (H.R. 6083) on July 12, major differences between the two chambers’ bills are delaying further progress.

While the House Agriculture Committee bill would save $35 billion over 10 years, the Republican caucus does not support the overall cost of $958 billion with almost 80 percent of that funding directed towards the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Even though the committee bill reduces the SNAP program by $16.1 billion over ten years, House Conservatives say that the program should be cut by at least $33 billion, the level approved in a House budget reconciliation bill in May. House Democrats also oppose the bill, wanting to preserve the SNAP program.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already stated that his chamber will not consider a one-year extension of farm programs, and that the House should consider the Senate-passed five-year measure.

While disagreement over the SNAP program will undoubtedly continue to stall farm bill reauthorization, the House Republican Study Committee (RSC) is strategizing on how to remove food stamps from the farm bill when Congress returns in September. RSC leaders are also hoping to convert food stamp funding from mandatory spending to discretionary spending, making it easier for Republican appropriators to reduce food-stamp spending in future appropriations cycles.  The RSC is the largest caucus within the House Republican Conference (164 of 240 House Republicans are members) and is made up of lawmakers who favor small government, low taxes, and reduced federal spending.

Although no agreement was reached on the farm bill or a short-term extension before Congress adjourned for the August recess, the issue will certainly be re-visited in September.

This entry was posted in Latest News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.