Farm Bill Won’t Get a Vote in 2013 | NACS Online – Media – News Archive
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Farm Bill Won’t Get a Vote in 2013

However, lawmakers say the bill could be ready to move through Congress in January.
December 12, 2013

​WASHINGTON – The Farm Bill continues its journey through Congress, with reports saying that it won’t see a vote by the end of this year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that inclement weather is to blame for members of Congress not being able to complete their work the Farm Bill. An employee of the Congressional Budget Office has been kept away from Washington and therefore “unable to complete the key cost estimates lawmakers needed to continue their negotiations, chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees told reporters Tuesday.”

Without CBO estimates, the House and Senate negotiators say they’re out of time to bring a bill to the House for a vote by year’s end, but that a vote could take place in January.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) issued the following statement:

“We have made great progress on the farm bill and continue to have productive meetings. There are still some outstanding issues that we are addressing. I am confident we’ll work through them and finish a farm bill in January. Concurrent with our ongoing discussions this week, I will file legislation to extend the current farm bill through January to allow us to finish our work without the threat that permanent law will be implemented. Having this option on the table is the responsible thing to do in light of our tight deadline.”

The Senate-passed Farm Bill contains language that would give the USDA new power to restrict retail participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) based on sales of items not eligible to be purchased with food stamps. In September, the House voted to cut $40 billion from the program over the next decade, but did not contain the Senate language in its version of the bill. The fate of the Farm Bill now resides with the House/Senate negotiators.

Read more on SNAP in the current issue of NACS Magazine and how the ability for convenience stores to accept SNAP benefits is being threatened.