The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 6083, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012,” on a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11.
The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 6083, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012,” on a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11. The bill cuts $35 billion from existing programs over 10 years (commodities, $14 billion; conservation, $6 billion; nutrition, $16 billion). The bill authored by Congressmen Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member, withstood a number of challenges to key provisions concerning dairy, sugar and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps). Efforts to cut the SNAP program even more ($33 billion) and efforts to restore the cuts back to the Senate farm bill level of $4 billion were defeated. The level of cuts in the SNAP program will be a key issue when the bill is taken to the floor. Chairman Lucas said, “Today marked an important step forward in the development of the next farm bill. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and the bipartisan nature in which this legislation was written and approved. This is a balanced, reform-minded, fiscally responsible bill that underscores our commitment to production agriculture and rural America, achieves real savings and improves program efficiency.” Congressmen Peterson reminded everyone that time is running out in getting a farm bill to the President’s desk by the time the current farm bill expires. He noted, “The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, and there only 13 legislative days before the August recess. Simply put, the House leadership needs to bring the farm bill to the floor for a vote. We should not jeopardize the health of our rural economies which, by and large, have remained strong the last few years. Our nation's farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a new, five year farm bill and they need it before the current farm bill ends.” There is no indication when the bill will be considered by the House of Representatives.