As expected, there were more fireworks today on Farm Bill related issues in the U.S. House of Representatives as the food stamp/nutrition component of the bill made its way to the House Floor for consideration.
Here in Washington we are in the middle of the dog days of summer when stifling heat and high humidity dominate, Congress is in recess and the various members of Congress go to their home districts for the month.
Republicans in the U.S House of Representatives made a bold and risky move this week to divide food stamp funding/nutrition from farm programs in a new farm bill, H.R. 2642. Today, representatives argued, in a very passionate debate at times, the merits of splitting the farm bill in two. After hours of extended debate, the House passed a split farm bill 216-208 with 10+ members not present/voting.
What a critical time for the Western Growers’ Washington, D.C., board meeting! At the end of May, Western Growers’ Board of Directors joined the fray in Washington to fight for immigration reform, push for a farm bill and engage on the food safety legislation issue. The nearly week-long stay featured a number of critical meetings and discussions and I want to highlight the work that was done.
According to the National Journal, the leadership in the House of Representatives is planning to split funding authorization for the food stamps program from the rest of the Farm Bill that failed to pass the House in late June.
By a thin margin today the House version of the five-year farm bill authorization failed 195-234 with 218 votes necessary for passage. One of the deciding elements in the debate of this bill centered around the level and severity of the cuts to the nutrition programs with both parties critical of the proposal that was presented in the bill:
Western Growers and the rest of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) applauded the passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (Farm Bill) in the U.S. Senate yesterday with a bipartisan vote of 66-27. The legislation addresses many of the critical priorities outlined by the SCFBA and continues the support of specialty crops that was established in the 2008 Farm Bill.