Congress Makes New Push on Farm Bill Reauthorization
On May 14, 2013, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry approved the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954), which would reauthorize the nation’s agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry programs through federal fiscal year (FY) 2018. On May 15, 2013, the House Committee on Agriculture approved its version of the farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947).
Both bills are similar to those approved by the committees last year, but here are still large differences between the House and Senate versions. For example, H.R. 1947 would decrease direct spending on nutrition programs by $20.5 billion over the next 10 years, while S. 954 would decrease direct nutrition spending by $4 billion. The House bill achieves its savings through a number of provisions, including limiting categorical eligibility and eliminating state performance bonuses under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In addition, the House bill provides $34 million less than the Senate bill for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) over a five-year period. On the other hand, the 2013 bills include similar provisions for a variety of research and extension activities and the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG). This Issue Brief provides details on program changes, funding levels, and new provisions of importance to states in both the 2013 House and Senate proposals.