The House Farm Bill (HR 1947) failed today, 195 to 234, after three days of debate on amendments and proceedings.
In what can only be interpreted as a slap in the face of U.S. House leadership, this failure typifies how dysfunctional this body of Congress has become, with the majority unable to pass legislation they claim is one of their priorities.
The failed legislation contained excessive cuts to conservation programs and nutrition resources, and lacked the establishment of any limits on federally subsidized crop insurance (the latter program is already far and away the most costly farm-oriented program and is growing in size by the year). The negative vote on this bill is a clear signal that House leadership needs to do a hard examination of what it takes to advance a bill that is based on good public policy.
Having no five-year Farm Bill in place leaves our nation’s farmers with uncertainty while shutting down public policy opportunities to invest in new farmers, engender rural development, and secure conservation on the land.
The Land Stewardship Project implores the U.S. House to recalibrate and refocus the disproportionate deep cuts in this failed bill and find a more reasonable approach that attracts the kind of bipartisan support needed for final passage. This must be done in earnest so a final Farm Bill is passed and signed by the President this fiscal year—Sept. 30, 2013.
Adam Warthesen is an LSP organizer who works on federal farm policy. He can be reached at 612-722-6377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.