Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said in a release, "The House farm bill failed commonsense conservation standards, and it failed to get enough votes to pass. Reasonable measures to protect taxpayers and natural resources must be included a farm bill. The National Wildlife Federation will continue to fight for a farm bill that includes a link between conservation compliance and crop insurance, and a National Sodsaver program." Most significantly, NWF indicated that the House bill would have created a new loophole in a longstanding requirement that farmers who receive taxpayer subsidies refrain from draining wetlands or farming erosion-prone soils without a conservation plan -- because the bill failed to extend these protections to crop insurance premium subsidies, the largest subsidy farmers receive. This could lead to the draining of 1.5 to 3.3 million acres of wetlands and greatly increased soil erosion and nutrient pollution into our lakes, streams, rivers and coastal waters.
Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) issued a statement saying, "The American Farm Bureau Federation is highly disappointed the House did not complete work on the 2013 farm bill. . . It was a balanced bill that would have provided much needed risk management tools and a viable economic safety net for America's farmers and ranchers. We commend House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for their commitment and hard work in bringing the bill to the floor and working toward its passage. We look forward to working with them as we regroup and move forward. We also appreciate House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for working with the Agriculture Committee leadership to bring the bill to the floor. A completed farm bill is much needed to provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming years and to allow the Agriculture Department to plan for an orderly implementation of the bill's provisions."
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD.) expressed his opposition to the significant SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cuts included in the bill in a June 18, Floor statement. He said, "First of all, the farm bill is an important piece of legislation. It sets federal policy in a range of areas that deeply affect the lives of farmers, their communities, and consumers. But it also makes a huge difference in the lives of those who rely on food assistance to avoid hunger, especially children. It's a shame that we could not consider the farm bill on its merits without undermining its credibility with what we clearly believe are not reforms and not the elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse. . . cutting out assistance for hungry people is neither fraud, nor waste, nor abuse. Well, it may be abuse. . . SNAP as it's called, protects over 46 million Americans who are at risk of going without sufficient food. Nearly half of those are children. Are there some reforms that are needed? Perhaps. And the Senate has made those reforms in a moderate, considered way. The average monthly benefit per participant last year, according to the USDA, was $133.41. I challenge any Member of this House to live on $133.41 for food $4.45 a day. . ." He said the bill would slash $20.5 billion from the supplemental nutrition program and put 2 million Americans at risk. Reps. Cantor and Hoyer had a "spirited" exchange following the vote on the bill (see link to video below).