Farm Bill Clears House Hurdle

Jan 31, 2014  | Ep3923

“On this vote the yeas are 251 the nays are 166, the conference report is adopted.”

After years of drafts, amendments and delays, the near $1 trillion Farm Bill finally made it through the House of Representatives this week winning bipartisan support.

The legislation carries a price tag of $956.4 billion. The vast majority of the funds will be spent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. According to the Congressional Budget Office, some 79% or $756 billion will be spent on the federal nutrition assistance program formerly known as food stamps. Crop insurance spending is slated at $89.8 billion or 9.4% of the farm bill, conservation tallies $56 billion or 6%, commodity programs amount to $44.4 billion or 4.6% and everything else authorized by the farm bill will cost $8.2 billion.   

The total cost to taxpayers, however, was reduced by $16.5 billion. Most of the cuts come from SNAP, with $8 billion or one percent being trimmed. That’s far below the original five percent cut proposed in an earlier house version of the bill.

Rep. Jim McGovern, D – Massachusetts: “The price of admission to passing a Farm Bill should not be more cuts to snap.”

Farm subsidy, commodity and conservation programs all were reduced, while spending on crop insurance was increased. That means the end of direct payments, in which farmers were paid to farm or not.

The American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers and American Soybean Association all support the bill.

But the American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers and National Chicken Council objected to Country of Originating Labeling, or COOL. That mandate requires meatpackers to label where animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

House leaders supported the bill.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R – Oklahoma: “No matter how much money we spend on supplemental programs to make sure our fellow citizens have enough to eat, that’s important, never forget, if there’s not a product on the shelf, if there’s not meat in the case, not vegetables or fruit available,  it doesn’t matter how much you subsidize.”


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