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Posted: July 12, 2013

House approves modified farm bill sustaining PL-480 Food for Peace program

The House of Representatives Thursday afternoon voted to approve a modified version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 that would keep the PL-480 Food for Peace program intact in its current form.

The legislation, H.R. 2642, is in other ways significantly different than its predecessor, H.R. 1947, which was voted down by the House in June. The bill approved yesterday by a vote of 216-208 does not contain a nutrition title to authorize funding for food stamps and some related programs. Although controversial, the legislation's approval will make possible a conference between the House and the Senate to reconcile the differences between H.R. 2642 and the Senate's version of the farm bill, S. 954.

The Senate approved S. 954 - the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 - in June. The Senate bill would also maintain the PL-480 Food for Peace program in its current form.

Under current cargo preference requirements, 50 percent of domestically purchased PL-480 food-aid cargoes are shipped aboard U.S.-flagged merchant vessels.

A conference between the House and Senate on the different versions of the farm bill would seek to produce a bicameral consensus on the five-year authorization legislation, which would then be returned to the House and Senate for votes. American Maritime Officers continues to closely monitor this legislation.