House Stumbles on Farm Bill

The congressional debate on reauthorizing a five-year Farm Bill, the legislation providing operating authority for the US Department of Agriculture and its related agencies, was delayed when the House failed to pass their version of the bill. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM Act) was defeated by a vote of 195-234 last Thursday, June 21, 2013. The bill lost Democratic support after Republicans added a provision that would let states run pilot projects that set work requirements for food-stamp recipients. Some of the 62 Republicans who opposed the bill had sought even deeper cuts in food stamp spending, while others wanted reductions in the legislation’s crop-subsidy programs.

This is only the latest challenge to the Farm Bill, which failed to see floor time in the House during last year’s campaign season. The Senate passed their version of the Farm Bill on June 10, 2013. Leadership in both chambers had hoped floor passage of a House bill would allow the Senate and House agriculture committees to work out a compromise conference bill before the Sept. 30th expiration of the current Farm Bill.

NADeFA’s provision for USDA research authority for cervid health and mapping of the deer genome remains included in both the House and Senate versions of the bill. We will continue to keep you updated once the House agriculture committee and Republican leadership indicate their next steps forward on the bill.