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Mississippi Delegation Supports New House Farm Bill

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Chris Davis

WASHINGTON, D.C.–A new Farm Bill has passed, but it has some elements missing that stopped the measure from passing the U.S. House before. The big one that wasn’t in there- Food Stamps, known formally as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program.

That part of the bill was 80 percent of its original cost and what was left Thursday was a stripped down version of the Senate bill that passed in May, which made several changes to the ways subsidies would be paid out to farmers, including the elimination of some direct payments and requirements for conservation practices.

Essentially, Congress had to drop Food Stamps to get the bill passed, according to those who supported it. There is a September deadline and now a deal has to be worked out between the Senate and House for a final bill.

Mississippi’s Republicans, Alan Nunnelee, Steven Palazzo, and Gregg Harper all cast “yea” votes, while Democrat Bennie Thompson was the lone “nay”. The final vote was along party lines, with only 12 Republicans in favor and no Democrats voting yes.

The promise from House Republicans is that a bill to fund Food Stamps will come in the near future.

What future the bill may have in the Senate is unclear. That body passed their Five Year Farm Bill in May and fully expected the bi-partisan legislation to pass in the House. There was surprise and disappointment when it didn’t, and Food Stamps continue to be a sticking point.

Thursday’s vote was wrought with protests and harsh words.

After Thursday’s partial Farm Bill passed the House, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committeee, issued this statement:

I am pleased the House of Representatives has taken action to pass a farm bill. American farmers, ranchers, conservationists and related industries deserve the certainty of a five-year farm bill.  I look forward to working with Chairwoman Stabenow and our counterparts from the House to address the differences between the Senate and House farm bills.

Cochran, in his position on the committee, helped push the Senate bill.

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