Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Log in or create a new MyGrange account
Keyword / Search: 


Around The Grange
View From the Hill: Farm Bill Update

By Grace Boatright, National Grange Legislative Director (View From The Hill Blog 6/17/13)

  JUNE 17, 2013 --

I apologize for my lack of communication regarding the Farm Bill. Washington has been especially dysfunctional this month; between three ongoing White House scandals, an immigration debate, a potential traitor or patriot (jury’s still out on which) the influx of summer tourists and, of course, the 2013 Farm Bill. The Senate passed their version of the Farm Bill last week and now all eyes are on the House.

Floor amendments were due to the House Rules Committee this afternoon and then tomorrow the House is scheduled to begin its debate on the 2013 Farm Bill. The House needs 218 votes for passage and, so far, Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson seem to think that they have enough votes to get it through. I haven’t thoroughly looked through the amendments but I’m sure there will be plenty of them especially considering Speaker Boehner’s encouragement to legislators to speak up on the issue. “If you have ideas on how to make the bill better, bring them forward. Let’s have the debate, and let’s vote on them;” Speaker Boehner recently stated to House members.

Here’s a brief summary of the House’s Farm Bill so far (H.R. 1947). It is roughly 630 pages long, which sounds like a lot until you compare it to the Senate’s 1,150-page bill. It costs approximately $940 billion over 10 years, compared to the Senate’s Farm Bill cost of $955 billion over the same period. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House bill will save $39.7 billion over ten years, more than covering the $6.4 billion in required cuts from the budget sequestration. The rest of the savings come from several places: $20.5 billion from nutrition, $6.9 billion from the conservation title, and $13.8 billion from commodity and crop insurance titles combined.

Although Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson seem confident about the bill’s passage, it still faces quite a few major hurdles. For starters, the $20 billion in cuts to food stamps are going to be a big issue for many in the House, especially the legislators who have little to gain from passage of the “farming” portion of the bill but have everything to lose from cutting food stamps. The Senate only cut around $5 billion from SNAP, making it a big source of contention between the chambers should both bills make it to negotiations.

Another sore spot will be safety net provisions for dairy, as well as the general crop insurance system for other commodities. The system proposed by the House is more of a price-loss program, while the Senate prefers its shallow-loss subsidy program. There has been a brewing debate on the Hill regarding the government’s involvement in setting price supports for commodities. Many conservatives say that the government has no business rescuing growers and producers should the market turn bad, insisting that we should let the free market system run its course. Speaker Boehner was one of these conservatives last year, openly opposing the Dairy Security Act and claiming that this level of market stabilization is “Soviet-style.” Amendments are being filed on both sides of the argument as we speak and I anticipate a very interesting next few days.

I’ll keep you guys posted as things progress. Keep your fingers crossed.

-Grace Boatright
National Grange Legislative Director

 Related Website Links
Clicking on these links will open the website in a new window

© 2023 The Connecticut State Grange. All Rights Reserved.