NSAC to House – Don’t Split the Farm Bill
July 2nd, 2013
With the noise growing within a wing of the House Republican Caucus to split the farm bill into two separate bills – one for nutrition including the food stamp or SNAP program, and one for everything else – NSAC wrote to House leaders today urging them to instead adopt a bipartisan consensus approach.
After the House defeated the farm bill on its first try, the House majority leadership is trying to find a strategy with which to move forward. We reviewed some of those options in an earlier post. To date, there appears to be no consensus within the Republican caucus on any option, but egged on by groups such as Heritage Action, there is active consideration being given to dividing the bill into two or more parts.
It is unlikely that both bills could pass in the two-bill strategy, and if they did, it would almost certainly doom any final action on the farm bill this year. The current farm bill quandary is also holding up House action on the agriculture appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.
The NSAC letter suggests a way forward: “In our view, the only workable path forward is to expand and unite the constituencies served by the bill. Key ingredients of such an approach would include increasing the degree of crop subsidy reform in the bill, removing radical changes to SNAP, and further enhancing polices and investments in the bill that advance the broad public and bipartisan interest in local food systems, organic farming, rural development, conservation, renewable energy, and beginning, veteran, and minority farmers.”
The letter concludes: “This approach, in contrast to dividing the bill into parts, would allow the House to bring together a broad coalition of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to move forward on a new farm bill. We urge you to work together to pass a comprehensive, balanced, and reform-oriented farm bill later this month.”