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Farm Bill Deadline Looms

September 24, 2012, 3:58 pm

House Speaker John Boehner officially confirmed that there will be no attempt to pass a new farm bill before the November elections. Boehner said the House would deal with the farm bill after the election. He declined to say whether that would mean a multi-year extension, a one-year bill or something else. The Senate passed a five-year farm bill earlier this spring, but the House has been unable or unwilling to follow suit.  

The measure is due to expire at the end of the month. When the expiration date hits, direct payments to farmers would still continue at $5 billion a year, and the food stamp program would continue through other spending bills. But many other programs would not be financed after the 2012 fiscal year.

One of the biggest disagreements involves food stamps, now called SNAP. SNAP makes up about 80% of the costs. The House would cut it 2 percent, angering many Democrats who don't want it cut at all and Republicans who say it should be cut more. The Senate version would cut it by one-half of 1%. Food stamps now help feed roughly 46 million Americans, or 1 in 7.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow said in a New York Times article, “Agriculture has always been bipartisan. But the extreme element of the House doesn’t believe  in a farm bill at all while others don’t want reforms.” She added, “The anti-reformers are hiding behind the extreme elements.”

What are the consequences of failing to vote on new farm bill? It's pretty complicated but here is a brief list of problems:

  • Conservation practices will no longer be supported, hence water and soil quality will diminish.
  • Disaster relief programs will expire.
  • Food prices will be higher.
  • Milk prices will skyrocket.
  • A combination of policies from the 1930s and 1940s will kick in, creating havoc.

For more information and opinions about the failed farm bill check out the following links:

New York Times

Washington Post

US News

NPR

 

Posted by at 3:58 pm
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