The 2008 farm law will be allowed to expire Sept. 30, with House Republican leaders unlikely to schedule any action this week on either a new farm bill or an extension of the 2008 law, said House Agriculture Committee spokeswoman Tamara Hinton.
Congress is recessing after this week until the election. “At this point, we don’t expect any additional items to be added to the House schedule for the week,” Hinton said.
Congress could take another stab at passing a new farm bill after the election or consider an extension then.
House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., had supported a one-year or three-month extension of existing programs but the idea ran into opposition from farm groups, conservative organizations and Democrats. Lucas “remains committed to completing a farm bill this year,” Hinton says.
Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, is circulating a discharge petition to force a vote on the committee’s farm bill, but that is considered a long shot.
Eleven Republicans had signed the discharge petition but two of those — Scott Tipton of Colorado and Reneee Ellmers of North Carolina — withdrew their names. House conservatives are being warned by the Club for Growth against signing the discharge petition.
The Club, one of Washington’s most influential conservative groups, said Monday that signing the petition would “count heavily as an anti-growth action” on its congressional scorecard.
At least 218 members, a majority of the House, must sign the petition for it to force a vote on the legislation. Such petitions are seldom successful, and even when they are, it takes months to gather sufficient signatures, according to the Congressional Research Service.
In early July, the House Agriculture Committee approved a five-year measure (HR 6083) to renew farm and nutrition programs last authorized in 2008 (PL 110-246). The bill calls for $35 billion in cuts over 10 years, including $16.1 billion to the nation’s largest food aid program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). But conservatives have said from the beginning that those cuts, especially to SNAP, are not nearly enough.