The U.S. Congress is headed for a second stop-gap extension of current farm law if Republican leaders in the House of Representatives cannot get new legislation back on track after a stunning defeat.
Farm lobbyists and analysts on Friday said a short-term extension was the easiest resolution of the previous day’s legislative chaos, which derailed Republican plans for major reform to crop subsidies and food stamps.
As the debate rolls on, there will be no impact on food stamps, which account for about 75 percent of farm bill spending, and crop insurance, now the largest part of the safety net for farmers.
Both programs are permanently authorized and would stay in operation if the current law is allowed to lapse, funded via annual appropriations bills.
On Thursday, the House, in an unprecedented step, defeated the five-year, $500 billion bill after Republican leaders were unable to get the votes they expected from fiscally conservative members of their party’s Tea Party wing.
Congress is months late in writing a new farm law, broad-spectrum legislation that governs crop subsidies, public nutrition, soil conservation, international food aid, rural development and agricultural research programs.