This past June, the U.S. House of Representatives was unable to pass a new Farm Bill. If you read my June 26th article, What is the Farm Bill, Anyways?, you may remember that I mentioned you would be hearing about it again, as it is an important bill that not only deals with agricultural subsidies and regulations, but food assistance programs. In summary, the House did not pass a new Farm Bill due to debate of cuts to food assistance programs. Democrats thought the cuts were too steep, while Republicans felt they were too little. In an interesting turn of events, the Farm Bill is in the process of being split up into a series of smaller, more specific bills. This is unique because what was once a large bipartisan project has turned into partisan bickering.
Last month, the G.O.P. controlled house was able to pass a bill that did not include food stamps, but it will certainly be opposed by the majority democratic Senate. This has led to speculation about what will have to happen before the September 30th deadline when the current Farm Bill expires. Check out this short article from the Vindicator, a Youngstown, OH area newspaper that I feels explains the situation well.
Finally, a huge reason why I felt it was time to write about the Farm Bill, is the dreaded King Amendment, which my fellow Urban Hermit, Lauren, wrote about in her June 26th article. This was initially included in the Farm Bill that the House voted on in June. Introduced by Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), this is an anti-regulation initiative that threatens to reverse a lot of progress that animal right groups have worked hard for. The Humane Society of the United States heavily opposes the King Amendment and requests that you take action: Click here to see what you can do! The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also opposes the King Amendment, see here. Of course, if you would like to personally message Sen. King and tell him how you feel, you can do so here.
Finally, I am going to leave you all with a New York Times opinion piece by Gail Collins that provides some interesting perspective on the Farm Bill battle, particularity the dispute over food assistance.
Image Source: Minnesota Farm, keeva999, Flickr, 1 October 2011.
Sources: “Dysfunctional house fails to pass comprehensive farm bill”. Vindy.com. 2 August 2013.