Idaho Republican Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson joined 187 GOP House members and 25 Democrats Thursday to pass a $383 million drought-assistance package for beleaguered livestock producers and some fruit farmers. The measure was considered a last-ditch effort before the House adjourned for recess to provide federal assistance to farmers struggling in a drought that is now affecting more than half of all U.S. counties.
While the relief package restores expired programs for livestock, some trees, honeybees, and farm-raised fish, Congress was unable to pass its own version of an overarching five-year farm bill, which would cost about $500 billion over five years. The House farm bill would also cut $16.1 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.
Bloomberg reports that it is unlikely that the farm bill will get taken up again until Monday, Sept. 10, when Congress returns from a monthlong recess.