WASHINGTON - The Farm Bill failed on the U.S. House floor this week with a 195 to 234 vote, after losing critical Republican support because the bill included an expansion of the food stamp program (SNAP).
Illinois' Republicans followed House Speaker John Boehner and voted to support HR 1947, along with two Democrats from rural communities - Congressman Bill Enyart and Cheri Bustos.
Republicans Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam, Aaron Schock and John Shimkus supported the legislation.
Illinois Democrats Danny Davis, Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster, Luis Gutierrez, Robin Kelly, Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky and Brad Schneider - all from Illinois' urban and suburban areas - opposed the bill.
According to the Committee on Agriculture, H.R. 1947 is the product of nearly three years of work, including 46 hearings and audits, proposals to the deficit reduction committee, and committee consideration and passage of legislation. The legislation cuts more than $40 billion from commodity and nutrition programs, including $20.5 billion from the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), eliminates the Direct Payment program and reforms commodity programs saving $14 billion and saves an additional $6.9 billion by consolidating 23 conservation programs to 13 programs. Finally, the bill provides additional regulatory relief to farmers.
The Farm bill was last reauthorized in 2008 and expired on September 30, 2012. According to CRS, “[I]t contains 15 titles covering support for commodity crops, horticulture and livestock production, conservation, nutrition, trade and food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, energy, forestry, and other related programs. It also includes provisions that make certain changes to tax laws, in order to offset some new spending initiatives in the final bill. The enacted bill succeeds the most recent 2002 farm bill and is to guide most federal farm and food policies through 2012. Many provisions of the 2002 farm bill expired in September 2007, but were extended under a series of temporary extensions prior to final enactment of the 2008 bill.”
As mentioned above, the 2008 farm bill expired on September 30, 2013 and farm commodity programs were supposed to begin reverting to an outdated and expensive "permanent law" on January 1, 2013. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended all the 2008 farm bill provisions that were in effect on September 30, 2012, for one year until September 30, 2013. For those farm commodity programs that are on a different calendar, the extension includes the 2013 crop year, for which certain authorizations for dairy programs continues until December 31, 2013.
There is no net cost to the extension because mandatory funding continuing most of the major farm bill programs was already in the budget baseline, such as for the farm commodity, conservation, trade, and nutrition programs. Crop insurance is permanently authorized.