No Farm Bill Today: Now What?
A small group of Republican conservatives in the House of Representatives joined with Democrats to derail the farm bill today by a vote of 213 to 198. According to the Associated Press, bad blood over a stalled immigration agenda fueled opposition to the bill that would have put stricter regulations on food stamp recipients and renewed certain farm subsidies.
This version of the farm bill also carried three amendments watched closely by the dairy industry. The first included several revisions to the Dairy Margin Protection Program, including raising the catastrophic coverage level from $4 to $5 in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the program. A second amendment would have allowed unflavored whole milk to be offered in school lunch programs. A third amendment would have made it easier to sell raw milk and raw milk products across state lines. That amendment faced significant pressure from dairy leaders and was defeated before the final farm bill vote.
Now that the House version of the bill is dead, all eyes turn to the Senate where Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is moving toward introducing a bill by the end of the month. This bill promises to be less controversial than the House version, including softer food stamp enrollment requirements.