This afternoon, the House of Representatives failed to pass a farm bill by a vote of 195-234. After a lengthy debate yesterday and this morning on farm bill amendments, House GOP leadership and the leaders of the House Agriculture Committee were not able to secure enough votes to pass the bill.
During this morning’s debate, the House passed by a vote of 230-194 an NSAC-backed amendment by Representative Fortenberry (R-NE) to limit commodity payments and close eligibility loopholes in commodity programs. The Senate-passed farm bill includes these same commonsense reforms. It was the first time that an amendment to include commodity payment limit reform in a farm bill was adopted by the full House. The vote bodes well both for the specific outcome and for sending the message that more subsidy reform is needed to pass a farm bill.
This morning the House also resoundingly defeated amendments by Representatives McClintock (R-CA) and Schweikert (R-AZ) that attacked local and regional food systems and healthy food access. The McClintock amendment would have eliminated the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and was defeated by a vote of 156-269. The Schweikert amendment that would have eliminated the Healthy Food Financing Initiative failed by a vote of 194-232.
House passage of a food stamp amendment by Representative Southerland (R-FL) to allow states to add work requirements to the SNAP program, adopted just prior to the vote on the bill as a whole, helped doom any chance the bill had of gaining more than a handful of Democratic votes, though even without that amendment it appears the bill would have been defeated.
It is unclear what the path forward now is for the 2013 Farm Bill, but stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis post on this week’s House farm bill floor debate soon.