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Farm Bill ups and downs

(article, Culinate staff)

Just a few weeks ago, the various versions of the current Farm Bill were up for votes in the Senate and the House. Since then, the Senate version has passed, but the House version was voted down. 

President Obama, incidentally, announced that if the House version passed, he would veto it on the grounds that it didn't provide enough assistance to the poor. 

The food-stamp provisions of the bill were indeed much debated. Twenty-six Democrats drew attention to bill's proposed cuts to the food-stamp program by spending a week on a food-stamp budget: $4.50 a day. On the other hand, many Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the bill on the grounds that it didn't cut food stamps enough.

In an interview with Modern Farmer, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer listed three reasons why he thought the House bill failed:

bq. One, it targeted the most vulnerable, food-insecure people, inappropriately. It refused to reduce lavish subsidies for people who needed it least. Just this week, there were articles about abuse in the crop-insurance program. No efforts to reform, refine, and redirect crop insurance and conservation, which is, I think, a big mistake. And last but not least, it continued some really grotesque practices, like the sugar subsidy, and actually direct payments to cotton interests. It wasn’t worthy of support.

What's gonna happen next? As Ezra Klein pointed out on his Washington Post blog, there are several avenues open to Congress — including doing nothing and reverting to the Farm Bill of 1949.