Two days of contentious debate about farm programs, domestic and international food assistance, and rural development produced a House-passed $125.5 billion fiscal year 2012 bill (H.R. 2112) to fund U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration programs and operations beginning Oct. 1. The legislation reduces discretionary funding by more than 13 percent from the current year. The House approved 22 amendments to the bill.
On a point of order, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) had appropriations committee language removed from the bill that had would have reduced the 2008 farm bill's average adjusted gross income (AGI) eligibility level to $250,000. The House defeated numerous floor amendments, including one to impose a $125,000 farm program payment limit, which failed 154-262; a second attempt to lower the AGI to $250,000, which failed 186-228; and a proposal to eliminate Market Access Program funding, which failed 101-314. Several efforts failed to eliminate or reduce P.L. 480 Title II international food-aid funding.
USA Rice Federation contacted 36 rice-state U.S. representatives to support Lucas in opposing harmful farm program changes and attempts to lower MAP funding.