WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. House of Representatives on the afternoon of June 20 rejected by a vote of 234 to 195 the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. Democrats overwhelmingly (172 to 24) voted against the farm bill, primarily because of its $20.5 billion in spending cuts over 10 years for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Democrats were joined in opposition to the bill by 60 Republican members of the House, many of whom voted no because they felt the legislation cut too little from nutrition and farm support programs.
The rejection of the farm bill seemed to shipwreck plans to negotiate a common bill with the Senate, which passed its version of the farm bill on June 10.
The current farm act expires on Sept. 30. It already was extended once when the House leadership failed to the farm bill approved by the House Committee on Agriculture to the floor for a vote.
“Today’s failure leaves the entire food and agriculture sector in the lurch. Once again, the nation’s soybean farmers and the 23 million Americans whose jobs depend on agriculture are left holding the bag,” said American Soybean Association (ASA) President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Mississippi, U.S. “This bill would have reinforced the farm safety net, promoted our products in foreign markets, strengthened the fast-growing biodiesel industry, enhanced conservation programs; not to mention the stable, affordable and safe supply of food, feed, fiber and fuel that it would have ensured for all Americans; all while addressing our collective fiscal and budgetary obligations.”
"U.S. farmers, ranchers, rural America, taxpayers, and consumers all lost today but politics is evidently alive and well," said USA Rice Producers' Group chair Linda Raun. "Rather than pass a bill that reduces the deficit by $40 billion while meeting the commitments of a farm bill, the country was treated to more Washington dysfunction. Patience in farm country is wearing thin. This is a sad day for rural America. Members of Congress need to ask themselves if they want to reduce the deficit or just talk about it. Failure to pass a farm bill leaves rural America in limbo."