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House Passes Farm Bill, Creates Stage for Conference Committee Talk

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a stripped down version of the Farm Bill without nutrition and food stamp programs being included. Passage comes after Republican leadership moved to separate those provisions from the bill in order to get a majority and move the process forward.  The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, or H.R. 2642, was approved by a vote of 216 to 208. The U.S. Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill in June by a vote of 66 to 27.

Both the House and Senate bills include energy titles, but proposed programs and spending levels differ significantly. The Senate bill mandates spending, while the House bill permits the energy spending without funding attached. The bills now go to conference committee for review and possible compromise. The proposed 2013 farm bill would take effect for fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2018. Some members are suggesting a bill that could pass both chambers is unattainable this year or next. The President has said he would veto a Farm Bill without nutrition policy and food aid programs.