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June 20, 2013

House Defeats Farm Bill

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Bad news for farmers and ranchers throughout the country. Farm bill legislation went down to defeat in the House of Representatives. American Farm Bureau farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher explains why this is a big deal in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:234 “no’s” versus 195 “ayes” meant the House farm bill went down in defeat.
Thatcher:It’s a big shock. Early this morning I think most people would have predicted we had the votes for final passage today and we would have the Senate and the House working on some kind of a conference committee soon.
Miller:Instead it’s back to the drawing board. American Farm Bureau farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher says the bill was a good compromise. No one got everything they wanted, but she speculates it was provisions that deal with food stamps, not farming that killed the bill.
Thatcher:The food stamp program was really the key to whether this bill could pass. You had a lot of Republicans who wanted way more than $20 billion in cuts and you had a lot of Democrats who wanted no cuts.
Miller:In the end new work requirements for people receiving food stamps probably pushed some Democrats to vote no and Republicans who wanted still more reform of that program joined them. So the big question is, “now what?”
Thatcher:Nobody really knows now what. Hopefully we’ll find a way to bring this bill back up, to tweak it enough that we can make everybody happy and get it done and we can go to conference but it won’t be easy.
Miller:Until that happens, a new and improved safety net for the people who grow our nation’s food is in a holding pattern. Johnna Miller, Washington.
Newsline will be updated next on Thursday July 20th, due to AFBF’s Communication’s Conference. Thank you for listening.

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