Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The 2013 Farm Bill: A Comparison of the Senate-Reported Bill (S. 954) and House- Reported Bill (H.R. 1947) with Current Law
Ralph M. Chite, Coordinator
Section Research Manager
Congress periodically establishes agricultural and food policy in an omnibus farm bill. The 113th Congress faces reauthorization of the current five-year farm bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, P.L. 110-246), since many of its provisions expire in 2013. The 2008 farm bill originally expired in 2012, but the 112th Congress did not complete action on a new farm bill and instead extended most authorities and funding for one additional year in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the fiscal cliff bill, P.L. 112-240). The 2008 farm bill contains titles that cover farm commodity support, horticulture, livestock, conservation, nutrition assistance, international trade and food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, bioenergy, and forestry.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version of an omnibus 2013 farm bill (S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013) by a vote of 15-5 on May 14, 2013. The next day, the House Agriculture Committee conducted markup of its own version of the farm bill (H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013) and approved the amended bill by a vote of 36-10. Floor action on the Senate bill began during the week of May 20, 2013, and is scheduled to resume the week of June 3; the House has not yet officially scheduled floor action.
Within the 12 titles of S. 954 and H.R. 1947 are provisions that would reshape the structure of farm commodity support, expand crop insurance coverage, consolidate conservation programs, revise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), and extend authority to appropriate funds for many U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discretionary programs through FY2018. Both farm bills would eliminate direct payments to farmers and revise (and rename) them to enhance price or revenue protection for producers in the farm commodity support programs.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the mandatory programs of the 2008 farm bill, if they were to continue, would cost $973 billion over the next 10 years (FY2014-FY2023). This baseline has been reduced by $6.4 billion to reflect the effects of sequestration. Compared to this “baseline,” S. 954 as reported would reduce spending by $18 billion (-1.9%); and the House Agriculture Committee-reported bill, H.R. 1947, would reduce it by $33 billion (-3.4%). The bills differ most notably in their estimated reductions to SNAP spending. The House-reported bill proposes to restrict categorical eligibility (estimated to reduce SNAP spending by approximately $11.6 billion over 10 years), whereas the Senate bill does not include such a restriction.
This report provides a side-by-side comparison of every provision in the House Agriculture Committee- and Senate Agriculture Committee-reported farm bills with current law or policy, as amended and extended by the fiscal cliff bill.
Date of Report: May 30, 2013
Number of Pages: 162
Order Number: R43076
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