House passes Farm Bill 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 27 Jul 2007 20:56:00 GMT

By 231-191, the House passed the farm bill (HR 2419) today. Highlights:
  • The bill funds the energy title, which funds biofuels research and development, energy efficiency programs and renewable-energy projects, by reversing $6.1 billion over ten years of the offshore drilling royalty payments mistakenly granted to oil and gas companies
  • The bill found additional funding for food stamps by by ending a practice known as “earnings stripping,” which lets foreign-owned companies shift income to a country with lower tax rates, delivering $7.8 billion over 10 years
  • The Senate is expected to start debating its version of the legislation after the August recess. Current programs expire Sept. 30 and it is unlikely Congress will be able to complete action on a new five-year bill by then. Instead, a short-term extension of the law is likely to be necessary.
  • The $5 million per year Community Food Projects program to fight food insecurity by funding projects that promote the self-sufficiency of low-income communities was zeroed out.
Some of the 31 amendments voted on:
  • The Ron Kind (D-Wis.) amendment (H.AMDT. 700, text) to cut farm subsidies and invest the money in conservation, nutrition, rural development and deficit reduction failed 117-309
  • The Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) amendment (text) to make it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. crops failed 182-245
  • The John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) amendment to prevent farmers from locking in artificially high loan-deficiency payments failed 153-271
  • The Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.) amendment (text) to increase the subsidy ceiling above $1 million if 75% of the recipient’s income was farm-related failed 175-252
  • The Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) amendment (text) to make cuts to the crop insurance programs to support grasslands conservation failed 175-250
  • The Lee Terry (R-Neb.) amendment (text)to create $10 million worth of sweet sorghum ethnanol demonstration project passed by voice vote
  • The Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) amendment (text)to return plant pest inspections to the Department of Agriculture from Homeland Security Department passed by voice vote

Leave a response

  1. Seth Baum Sun, 29 Jul 2007 23:36:02 GMT

    Thanks for your coverage of the Farm Bill and the topics in your other recent posts. These summaries are quite helpful.

    About the Ron Kind amendment: Was this as good of an amendment as it looks? Are the farm subsidy cuts described here the sort that Oxfam’s been advocating for? (See for example this) Also, was the conservation measure good? It wasn’t immediately clear from the amendment text.

    Quick comment formatting note: I first tried posting the Oxfam url directly (i.e. without the href tag). The preview showed the entire (rather long) url being displayed, even pushing outside the main comment box.

  2. The Cunctator Mon, 30 Jul 2007 16:40:23 GMT

    Blog for Rural America has a detailed critical analysis of the Kind Amendment (aka FARM 21) here.

    Their take:
    • While FARM 21 would change the basic structure of farm programs, it does little in the way of making sure that farm program benefits flow to small and mid-size family farms
    • FARM 21 does not close the loopholes used to avoid farm program payment limits
    • FARM 21 shifts large amounts of money to conservation programs- a laudable goal- but invests most of that money into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which subsidizes enormous manure lagoons and the concentration of livestock production
    • FARM 21 places much-needed resources behind some rural economic development programs, but others receive inadequate amounts
    • FARM 21 does not include any crucial livestock market competition reforms.
    They also offered this perspective:
    But we do feel one of the problems with the entire Farm Bill debate is the effort by many organizations and individuals to polarize various “factions”. Therefore, Ag Committee members and organizations who should know better say Ron Kind and others will destroy agriculture with their ideas and imply that Ron Kind is malevolently attempting to obliterate rural America. The organizations supporting Ron Kind spend much of their time discussing how evil the House Ag Committee is and how it can’t be counted on to support any sort of decent reform. These caricatures contain elements of truth as well as blatant falsehoods. Unfortunately, it is clear that both sides view this process of demonization as the most productive political strategy. That is a sad statement regarding the entire process, and both sides are performing a grave disservice to the country as a whole.