House votes down farm bill

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on the afternoon of June 20 rejected by a vote of 234 to 195 the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. Democrats overwhelmingly (172 to 24) voted against the farm bill, primarily because of its $20.5 billion in spending cuts over 10 years for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Democrats were joined in opposition to the bill by 60 Republican members of the House, many of whom voted no because they felt the legislation cut too little from nutrition and farm support programs.

The rejection of the farm bill seemed to shipwreck plans to negotiate a common bill with the Senate, which passed its version of the farm bill on June 10.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association expressed disappointment the bill was rejected, saying the cattle industry was disadvantaged by not having agriculture policy that provides certainty for cattle producers and addresses priorities important to the cattle industry.

“We were very close in this legislation to providing disaster programs for our producers, which would have extended disaster assistance for five years and would have covered losses in 2012 and 2013,” said Scott George, NCBA president. “These disaster programs are essential to equipping producers with the necessary tools to manage the risks associated with catastrophic weather events. After the historic drought which has plagued the countryside for the last few years, livestock producers needed these programs now more than ever.”

The current farm act expires on Sept. 30, 2013. It already was extended once when the House leadership failed to the farm bill approved by the House Committee on Agriculture to the floor for a vote.
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