HOUSE PASSES SPLIT FARM BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 11, 2013 — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill excluding nutrition programs Thursday by a 216-208 vote. The nutrition title may be considered later as a separate bill.
The House Republican leadership decided to split the farm bill after disagreement over nutrition spending led to the combined bill’s defeat last month. The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Farm Bill Committee met by conference call Wednesday night and unanimously recommended the organization support the “farm program only” bill.
“We believe this may be the only option left to get a five-year farm bill passed before the current, extended bill expires in September,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “Passage of the split bill will keep the legislation moving forward to a conference committee where differences possibly can be reconciled with the Senate version.”
Alabama Republican Reps. Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus, Jo Bonner, Mo Brooks, Martha Roby and Mike Rogers voted in favor of the split House bill. Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell voted against it.
"We appreciate members of Alabama's congressional delegation standing with the state's farmers by voting to move the farm bill forward," Parnell said. "It's critical Congress pass a farm bill this year so farmers can plan for the future."
The House bill includes titles related to commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation and rural development. It replaces permanent farm program law from 1938 and 1949 with the 2013 commodity title. The threat of programs reverting to permanent law provided motivation for passage of past farm bills.
Since the mid-1960s, the marriage of commodity and nutrition programs under a single farm bill created a rural-urban coalition strong enough to pass the legislation. That bond broke down last month when Democrats withdrew support over Republican amendments aimed at slowing the growth of food stamp spending.