Washington, D.C., July 11, 2013 – Today, the House of Representatives approved the 2013 Farm Bill on a mostly partisan vote of 216-208. No Democrats voted for the legislation, and only 12 Republicans voted against it. Moreover, the legislation, H.R. 2642, was rammed through the Republican-controlled House under a closed rule allowing no amendments. House Agriculture leaders told their colleagues it was the same bill as the one voted down earlier … only with food stamps and nutrition programs separated out.
That is not the case. This bill has stripped away the expiration dates for most of the commodity programs, meaning this bloated farm bill essentially will become permanent law. That takes the future of agricultural programs out of the hands of policymakers — no longer will they have to deal with a farm bill every five years. Instead, they can do nothing and revert to this travesty of farm bill reform.
The legislation greatly expands the crop insurance subsidy program, where farmers’ premiums and insurance companies’ administrative costs are heavily subsidized. It includes no means tests for those subsidies. It leaves in place the sugar program, which is a central planning scheme that allocates domestic supply, restricts imports and sets prices substantially higher than the world price.
The farm bill and the process by which it was brought up is a travesty of the democratic process – consumers and taxpayers are the losers.
CEI analysts Iain Murray and Fran Smith had been outspoken critics of the bill leading up to the vote.