Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954), also commonly referred to as "the farm bill," is one of two United States "farm bills" that were introduced in the 113th United States Congress. The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 is the bill that was introduced into the United States Senate. A second bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947) was introduced into the United States House of Representatives. The two bills cover similar topics and programs, but have significantly different provisions. The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 passed the Senate on June 10, 2013 and has received the support of the President.
However, the Senate bill failed to pass in the House, so the two chambers organized a conference committee. The result is the Agriculture Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642; 113th Congress), which passed the House on January 29, 2014. The Agriculture Act of 2014 includes provisions from both the House and the Senate bills.
One of the major provisions of the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 is a $4 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a controversial provision, with some Democrats arguing that the cuts were too large, while some Republicans arguing that the cuts did not do enough to cut the deficit.
- 1 Background
- 2 Provisions/Elements of the bill
- 3 Congressional Budget Office report
- 4 Procedural history
- 5 Debate and discussion
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes/References
- 8 External links
A "farm bill" is one of the primary tools of the United States federal government to set policy related to agriculture in the United States. Farm bills are passed roughly every five years. The farm bills typically cover laws and policies related to supplemental nutrition, land payments, crop insurance, environmental practices, some international trade, and research.
A similar bill to the proposed Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 was also passed by the Senate in the 112th United States Congress, but never received much attention in the House and failed to become law. The current "farm bill" expires on September 30, 2013.
Provisions/Elements of the bill
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 would reduce spending on food stamps by $4 billion over 10 years.
- The bill ties compliance with environmental standards to the ability to receive subsidized crop insurance. "Currently, the government subsidizes about 62 percent of the crop insurance premiums, and the policies typically guarantee 75 percent to 85 percent of a farmer’s revenue."
- The bill shifts subsidies away from direct payments to farmers. The bill would eliminate an old program that provides $5 billion in subsidies for farmers and farm land owners regardless of whether they grow crops.
- The bill includes an amendment offered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that sets up a pilot program for providing internet access to rural areas.
- Conservation programs would be cut by $3.5 billion.
- The bill covers international food aid programs. The Senate version increases spending from $40 million to $60 million, but does not make other changes to the program that were requested by the Obama Administration.
- The bill would add new subsidies for Southern rice and peanut farmers.
Congressional Budget Office report
This summary is based largely on the report on S. 954, as it was reported by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on May 14, 2013, written by the Congressional Budget Office, a public domain source.
Estimated budgetary effects
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that direct spending stemming from the program authorization in S. 954 would total $955 billion over the 2014-2023 period. That 10-year total reflects the bill’s authorization of expiring programs through 2018 and an extension of those authorizations through 2023, consistent with the rules governing baseline projections that are specified in the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Relative to spending projected under CBO’s May 2013 baseline, the CBO estimates that enacting the bill would reduce direct spending by $17.8 billion over the 2014-2023 period. The estimated budgetary effects of S. 954 are summarized in Table 1. CBO estimates that section 10012 of the bill would increase revenues by $54 million over the 2014-2023 period. Further details of the changes in direct spending and revenues are displayed in Table 2.
Assuming appropriation of the specified and necessary amounts, the CBO also estimates that implementing the bill would cost $30.1 billion over the 2014-2018 period and $39.9 billion over the 2014-2023 period. Further details of that estimate are displayed in Table 3.
Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Mandates
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). In general, state, local, and tribal governments would benefit from the continuation of existing agricultural assistance and the creation of new grant programs.
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 would impose private-sector mandates, as defined in UMRA, by expanding reporting requirements on manufacturers of dairy products and establishing regulations for dairy handlers that purchase milk from dairy producers participating in the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. Additionally, the bill would prohibit individuals from attending animal fighting ventures in states and U.S. territories that permit such ventures. Because the compliance cost for dairy handlers would depend on future regulations, the CBO has no basis to determine whether the aggregate cost of the mandates in the bill would exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($150 million in 2013, adjusted annually for inflation).
The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or revenues. Enacting S. 954 would affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. The net change in outlays and revenues that are subject to those pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in Table 4.
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 was introduced into the Senate on May 14, 2013 by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The bill was considered on the Senate floor on May 21–23, and June 3–4, June 6, and June 10, 2013. On June 10, 2013, the bill passed in the Senate in Recorded Vote 145: 66-27. Only two Democrats voted against their party: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). Eighteen Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
As of June 24, 2013, the United States House of Representatives had not considered the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 or added it to a calendar. On June 20, 2013, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) urged the House to take up consideration of the bill, speaking from the Senate floor. The Senator argued that because the Senate bill had received the support of many Republicans and cut spending, the House should have no objections to passing it as well. The bill was not put on the Majority Leader's calendar for the week of June 24.
On May 20, 2013, the President of the United States Barack Obama released a statement that the Administration "supports" passage of S. 954 and "looks forward to working with the Congress to address the important concerns described below prior to final passage." The announcement listed several reasons that the President supported the bill: elimination of the direct payments system; consolidation and streamlining of conservation assistance; and the inclusion of funding for bioenergy programs. The statement criticized the bill for not adopting all of the Administration's previous proposals for achieving crop insurance and commodity program savings and objected to any cuts at all to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Debate and discussion
Senator Debbie Stabenow argued in favor of the bill because it both reduced the deficit and supported "16 million people who depend on agriculture for their jobs".
The bill was opposed by groups focusing on hunger due to its reduction in spending on food stamps. It was also criticized by groups such as the Heritage Foundation for including a system of crop insurance that were less about helping farmers in the event of a true disaster and more of an income support system.
- List of bills in the 113th United States Congress
- United States farm bill
- Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947; 113th Congress)
- "S. 954 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY S. 954 – Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013" (PDF). Executive Office of the President. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "H.R. 2642 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- Pete Kasperowicz; Erik Wasson (29 January 2014). "House passes $956B farm bill". The Hill. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- Nixon, Ron (10 June 2013). "Senate Passes Farm Bill; House Vote Is Less Sure". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Imhoff, Daniel (2012). Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill. Watershed Media. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0970950071.
- Cox, Ramsey (10 June 2013). "Senate passes farm bill in 66-27 vote". The Hill. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "CBO - S. 954". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session - 145". United States Senate. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Cox, Ramsey (20 June 2013). "Bennet urges House to vote on Senate farm bill". The Hill. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
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- Library of Congress - Thomas S. 954
- beta.congress.gov S. 954
- GovTrack.us S. 954
- OpenCongress.org S. 954
- WashingtonWatch.com S. 954
- Congressional Budget Office's Report on S. 954
- White House Statement on H.R. 954