A few days after the Senate passed legislation to reform agricultural policy, the House of Representatives rejected its version of the farm bill. Representatives killed H.R. 1947 by a vote of 195 ayes to 234 nays.

The failure of the bill in the House led to plenty of partisan finger pointing. Republicans claimed that Democrats promised to deliver enough votes to pass the bill, but did not follow through on that promise. Democrats complained that the majority party poisoned the bill by slashing $20.5 billion (about two percent) from the food stamp program and allowing two controversial amendments to receive votes.

Although the House and Senate bills differed in terms of total authorizations for farm subsidy, conservation, rural energy, and nutrition assistance programs, the legislation contained many similar research policy provisions.

In the House, more than 50 amendments were considered during floor debate. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) successfully offered an amendment that would create a task force on pollinator health. Rep. Kaptur also sponsored a provision that would require the Department of Agriculture to report annually on what invasive species are in the U.S., where they originated, the economic and environmental impacts, and ongoing research to address the invasive species.

House leaders are now considering what actions to take to advance the farm bill. The House could revise its legislation, take up the Senate passed bill, or start negotiations with the Senate on a compromise. Lawmakers must act before 30 September 2013, when the current farm bill will expire.


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