On Thursday, June 20, the U.S. House rejected a 2013 farm bill.
The five-year, half-a-trillion-dollar farm bill, championed by Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. Dist. 7, and Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., covered both agricultural programs and food stamps. Many expected the bill to pass with bi-partisan support, but Peterson cited some last minute revisions for sinking the bill. One revision was an amendment that eliminated a prevision authored by Peterson to stabilize the milk market, and the other was an amendment that would allow states to launch pilot programs requiring food stamp recipients to work for their benefits.
In a statement, Peterson responded to the bill's failure to pass, " ... From day one I cautioned my colleagues that to pass a farm bill we would have to work together. Instead, the House adopted a partisan amendment process, playing political games with extreme policies that have no chance of becoming law.
"This flies in the face of nearly four years of bipartisan work done by the Agriculture Committee. I'll continue to do everything I can to get a farm bill passed but I have a hard time seeing where we go from here."
Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) president Tom Haag has also released a statement: "Minnesota's corn farmers are greatly disappointed that the House did not pass the farm bill. This farm bill would have reduced our country's deficit, made necessary reforms to farm policy, and strengthened risk management tools available to farmers that protect the nation's food supply. In the end, it appears that farmers got caught in the middle of another partisan political battle where nobody – especially farmers – came out a winner. We thank House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson for their hard work and strong leadership during this process. MCGA remains hopeful that the farm bill can get back on track, and that the House will pass a farm bill that puts farmers and the American people ahead of politics as usual."
Minnesota Republicans Erik Paulsen (Minn. Dist. 3) and John Kline (Minn. Dist. 2) backed the bill along with Peterson and fellow Democrat Tim Walz (Minn. Dist. 1). DFLers Keith Ellison (Minn. Dist. 5), Betty McCollum (Minn. Dist. 4) and Rick Nolan (Minn. Dist. 8) voted against the farm bill and were joined by Republican Michele Bachmann (Minn. Dist. 6).
The bill failed 195-234.