Saturday, July 13, 2013

US House Passes Farm Bill

The Republicans in the House of Representatives made two curious decisions in passing a farm bill this past week.

First, they split food stamps (SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the commodity programs (crop insurance, subsidies, etc.).  Food stamps and commodity programs have been rolled together since the 1960s in part as a way to gain wide support for passage of farm legislation, as the combination brought together urban and rural supporters.  (Although, rural and farm state votes have always been the key to passing farm legislation.)

Second, the House bill removes the permanent legislation from 1949.  In past farm bills, the 1949 remained the permanent legislation and would kick in if the more current legislation expired.  This was the situation at the beginning of this year, when an amendment was put in the budget bill to avoid milk policy from reverting back to 1949.

These are each significant changes in agricultural policy and the politics of farm bills.  So, they're something to keep an eye on.

No comments:

Post a Comment