House Rules Committee Preps Farm Bill

House expected to take on bill later this week; talk surfaces of limiting amendments

Published on: Jun 17, 2013

The House Rules committee on Monday evening will hold an emergency meeting regarding the 2013 House Farm Bill, or FARRM.

Max Armstrong, Farm Progress America broadcaster, says House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas says the idea is to adopt a rule providing for open discussion on the bill but limit amendments to 1-2 per subject. In total, Lucas would like to see no more than 30-40 amendments on the bill.

The bill, which is scheduled for floor time this week, is expected to come up for consideration by Wednesday or Thursday. Lucas says he expects the House to pass the bill in just two days. That's assuming, however, that he still has the 218 votes needed to pass the bill.

House expected to take on bill later this week; talk surfaces of limiting amendments
House expected to take on bill later this week; talk surfaces of limiting amendments

Lucas says also he doesn't expect to even go to the floor if the 218 votes aren't available, Armstrong reports.

However, support is expected because House members understand if a new farm bill isn't passed, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance spending – a big sticking point for many legislators – would be permanently authorized while farm programs end.

That's not in the consumer's best interest, Lucas says, or in the best interest of rural America.

Last week House Speaker John Boehner, who bore the weight of many unhappy farm groups during last year's failed attempt to get the House Farm Bill to the floor, says this year he will vote for the bill despite his concerns with some provisions, namely dairy reform.

Farm Futures' Jacqui Fatka reports that Boehner's comments imply he is looking for some changes to the bill on the floor, which may come from several lawmakers looking to amend the nutrition title and price supports.

But the Farm Bill is just one of many on Boehner's plate this session. The Hill's Molly Hooper explains that he may be eager to move on the Farm Bill because soon it will be time to move on to immigration reform and action on the National Security Agency's alleged surveillance programs.

For now, all ag eyes remain on the Farm Bill with the hopes that something will come from legislative action. Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has said before that she is eager to conference a bill, since that was unattainable last year.

The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill with a 66-27 vote on June 10.