House rejects Farm Bill, making future uncertain - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

House rejects Farm Bill, making future uncertain

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The five-year, half-trillion dollar Farm Bill was rejected by the House Thursday. The five-year, half-trillion dollar Farm Bill was rejected by the House Thursday.
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The five-year, half-trillion dollar Farm Bill was rejected by the House Thursday.

The vote was 234-195, with 62 Republicans voting against it.

Last week, the Senate passed the five-year bill on a bipartisan vote of 66-27. The bill would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and allow states to impose a broad, new work requirements for those who receive them.

The Farm Bill not only impacts farmers, but everyday consumers as well. The bill involves everything from farm subsidies and crop insurance, which indirectly impacts food prices.

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) says the vote places a lot of uncertainty on the future.

"With not having a farm policy in place, it creates a lot of uncertainty," he said. "When people go into this fall not knowing what the farm program is going to be for the next year, how do you plan? Are you able to get credit at the bank? Also with the feeding programs, which is about 80 percent of the Farm Bill, there is uncertainty as to what is going to happen there and what the eligibility requirements will be.

"I don't think anyone knows immediately what is going to happen," he added. "I think there will be an attempt for either an extenuation of the current Farm Bill, or maybe an attempt to change the Farm Bill as it was presented at this time. Maybe some adjustments will be made that would attract more votes on the floor, but at this point there is no real plan of action that has been laid out yet."

If Congress is not able to pass any type of Farm Bill, it would revert back to the agricultural rules written back in 1949.

"In the current Farm Bill, which was a one-year extenuation 'til the end of September, there is no change up until that point," Latham said. "When you get after September, if nothing is done, then we revert back to the permanent law of 1949. That law is totally outdated and would not fit today's agriculture at all."

That law would not impact the food stamp and crop insurance programs -- those would continue with no changes.

The rejection of this bill is causing much frustration in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) believes the bill failed to pass for a number of reasons.

"I think it was a combination of factors," he said. "I think it's people who don't appreciate the impact farming and agriculture have on their lives, I think it was a failure to understand the relationship between the SNAP program and the ability to pass a Farm Bill."

Braley also expressed frustration with the leadership for bringing the bill forward without assuring they had the votes ahead of time.

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