WASHINGTON D.C. (KMOX) - U.S. House of Representative members rejected a farm bill Thursday amid divisions over food subsidies and food stamps.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst says the plan would have given farmers a consistent funding model for five years. Instead, that model will now be much shorter.
“We have an extension that goes until September of this year and after that we don’t know what happens,” Hurst said. “No one has any ability to plan for next year so that’s kind of where we are.”
Hurst says that uncertainty will drive food prices up.
“Well, I mean in the short term I would think not and longer term, anything that increases risk to farmers is going to have a tendency to raise food prices,” he said.
Hurst said the bill’s failure will also harm food programs for needy Missourians but St. Louis Area Foodbank spokesman Ryan Farmer had a different take.
“We see today’s announcement of the House’s failure to pass the farm bill legislation as a victory not only for the thousands of people locally but millions of people across the country that are at risk of going hungry,” he said.
The House version of the bill included a $21 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a much more severe cut than was proposed in the Senate version. The White House has threatened to veto legislation that includes cuts to SNAP.
“We hope that they can work in the coming days, weeks, and months to come to a resolution that abandons efforts to cut the SNAP program,” Farmer said.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, accosted House Republicans in a statement Thursday for not bringing a Senate-approved farm bill up for a vote or pass their own version.
“The fumbling of the U.S. House leadership is only hurting our farmers and ranchers and the economic health of our state,” Missouri’s senior senator said. “For the sake of our rural communities, and of job and business opportunities across Missouri, the House of Representatives needs to get its act together and get this job done.”
H.R. 1947, officially titled the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, failed by a vote of 195-234.