WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013- Several farm groups announced their support of passing the farm-only farm bill today, altering sentiments sent in a previous letter to House leadership in support of a comprehensive farm bill vote.
The House will vote Thursday afternoon on a farm bill (H.R. 2642) that excludes the nutrition title and repeal the 1949 and 1938 permanent law.
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Pam Johnson noted “we see no other way” to move the farm bill to a conference with the Senate unless the House approves the farm bill today.
“However, our action in no way reflects our approval of its contents or the manner in which it came to the floor,” she noted. “Unless significant change is made to the bill in the conference committee, we will strongly urge its rejection by the Senate and the House.”
National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) CEO Neil Dierks said his organization supports separating the nutrition title from the rest of the farm bill.
He said NPPC signed a letter on July 2 urging support for a farm bill, but the letter was changed to include a statement of opposition if House leaders removed the nutrition title.
The letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, last week was signed by 532 national and regional organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union. The letter urged bringing a full farm bill to the floor, although the House voted down a comprehensive farm bill last month with a 234-195 vote.
“NPPC and its affiliates were not aware of that change and would not have signed onto the letter had they known about the change,” Dierks said. “In fact, while removing the nutrition title is an unorthodox approach, NPPC and its affiliates support it if it leads to passage of a new Farm Bill, which is imperative to America’s pork producers.”
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) President Chuck Conner also urged support of HR 2642.
"A Senate/House conference committee will have a difficult task ahead of it, but it can only succeed if that point in the legislative process is reached,” he said. “It is time to move the farm bill."
Additionally, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George this morning sent a letter to House members urging support of passage of the House Farm Bill, particularly because H.R. 2642 contains disaster assistance.
“H.R. 2642 fully authorizes disaster programs which expired September 30, 2011, as they were not authorized in the final year of the 2008 Farm Bill,” George said. “Since 2011 livestock producers have not had a safety net, as previously provided by the federal disaster programs, to help those impacted by the historic drought, devastating wildfires, floods and other natural disasters.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., underscored the lack of Democrat support for the split farm bill during a press conference today. She said the bill lacks bipartisan support as a result of removing the food stamp provisions.
“The bipartisan farm bill passed out of House Agriculture Committee has been completely ignored by Republican leadership,” she said.
However, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, noted voting on a farm bill without the nutrition title “is an unusual situation.”
“It’s not something I would prefer to do,” he said, but insisted it is necessary for his overall goal.
“My goal right now is to get farm bill passed,” Boehner reiterated in a press conference today.
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