In the wee hours of the early morning, the House Agriculture Committee reported the 2012 Farm Bill, H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 35-11.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that if this legislation were enacted, it would reduce direct spending by $35.1 billion over the fiscal years 2013-2022 period, including $14 billion in savings from changes to the commodity and risk management programs, $6 billion in savings from changes to the conservation programs, and $16.1 billion in savings from changes to the Nutrition Programs. While more than 100 amendments were filed during the mark-up yesterday, Chairman Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN) held the line through numerous challenges, particularly to nutrition, dairy, and sugar programs, to hold the line on the baseline savings in the underlying bill.
The way forward for the bill is unclear. House Republican leaders have given no indication whether they will make time to put this bill on the floor for consideration. House and Senate Agriculture leadership are calling for floor time, but Speaker Boehner reaffirmed today that there are no plans for bringing this legislation up during the remaining 20 legislative days remaining before the current farm bill is set to expire on October 1. Some members of the House Agriculture Committee have suggested a strategy of bypassing the House floor and taking the Committee-passed bill directly to a conference with the Senate.
Healthy Farms, Healthy People Coalition will continue to monitor developments to keep you aware of any movement. Stay tuned.