Washington — The House and Senate will go to conference in the coming weeks to iron out the differences between their versions of the farm bill, which expires Monday, Sept. 30, however sugar reform is not included in either bill.
Earlier this summer, the House passed a bill separating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, from agricultural programs. Further, the House version of the bill would make some commodity programs, including sugar, permanent, instead of up for renewal every five years. The Senate and President Barack Obama are strong vocal opponents of the House bill, which would cut SNAP by nearly $40 billion.
Critics do not expect Congress to come to an agreement before the end of the fiscal year, and if a new five-year bill is not passed, the current bill would extend for another year, marking the second consecutive year Congress will be in gridlock concerning the farm bill. The NCA says it hopes for this outcome, as it would present another chance to introduce sugar reform in 2014.