U.S. House Fails to Pass Damaging Farm Bill!
Harmful legislation is averted, but a new Farm Bill must be passed
On Thursday, June 20, the House of Representatives failed to pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, HR 1947, also known as the Farm Bill. This legislation, which sets policy on agricultural issues, allocations, and appropriations for the next five years, was defeated in a bipartisan vote after the House Rules Committee refused to consider discussion on many amendments from the floor.
However it is essential that a Farm Bill be passed and quickly as agricultural subsidies as well as the food stamp program relies on approval of a new five-year plan. The Senate bill does not contain the provision that was so objectionable in the House bill, which would have asserted the right of a state to trade agricultural products freely with another state. This amendment would have allowed states without any humane welfare standards, such as a ban on battery cages or gestation crates, to market their products in states that have enacted such reforms, putting the farmers in those few states at a strong economic disadvantage as humanely raised products are more expensive to produce. It will therefore make it virtually impossible to pass legislation mandating more humane (and costly) farming measures because such welfare standards would drive producers out of business as cheaper products from other states flood the market.
The House must now choose whether to introduce a new Farm Bill or wait to consider the Senate bill, with or without further amendment.