The House and Senate Agriculture committees faced the tough task of squeezing existing programs to find money to pay for other programs that the 2014 farm bill will leave unfunded when it expires Sept. 30.
The White House criticized the Senate farm bill for not tightening work requirements for food stamp recipients and omitting regulatory reform proposals, but the administration notably stopped short of threatening a veto of the legislation.
House Republicans revived their farm bill and its expanded work rules for food stamp recipients by narrowly passing the legislation with the help of conservatives who had used the measure as leverage to get the House to act on immigration policy.
If history is a guide, there’s little chance Congress will enact a new farm bill this year. Congress hasn’t enacted a farm bill in the same year it was first introduced since 1990, which is what lawmakers are trying to do this year.
House Republican leaders pick up the pieces this week after another embarrassing defeat on a farm bill, which was weighed down yet again by controversial food stamp reforms before sinking because of an intra-party feud over immigration policy.
The White House has endorsed the House farm bill ahead of a contentious floor debate, saying the legislation would provide certainty to farmers while imposing “common-sense work requirements” on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
House GOP leaders hope to pass a farm bill this week over likely unified Democratic opposition, but Republicans head into the debate divided over critical amendments on sugar policy, crop insurance and other issues.
With a farm bill floor debate looming next week, House members have filed more than half a dozen amendments attacking various aspects of the crop insurance program and others seeking to tighten rules for commodity subsidies and to roll back the sugar program.