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Senate Passes Farm Bill With Amendment Allowing Food Aid To North Korea With Presidential Waiver

The Senate on Thursday passed 64-35 the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, otherwise known as the farm bill, which “funds agriculture, farm and nutrition programs over the next five years,” The Hill’s “Floor Action Blog” reports. “The vote on the bill (S 3240) came immediately after the chamber finished a two-day marathon on consideration of 73 amendments to it,” the blog notes (Strauss, 6/21). On Wednesday, “[t]he Senate voted to continue food aid to North Korea, shooting down an amendment ending that aid and also approving a different one in support of it,” the blog reports in a separate article. According to the blog, “First, the Senate voted on an amendment by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) that was essentially a counter to an amendment by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to cut off U.S. food aid to North Korea. The Kerry-Lugar amendment was approved in a vote of 59 to 40, and Kyl’s amendment failed 43 to 56” (Strauss, 6/20).

“Under the amendment, which needs final approval from the Republican-led House, North Korea is only eligible for Food for Peace Act donations if the president grants a waiver,” Yonhap News Agency reports. After stopping food donations to North Korea in 2009 over monitoring concerns, the U.S. struck a deal earlier this year to resume that aid, but a North Korean rocket launch in April negated the agreement, according to the news agency. “‘Although there is a clause of waiver in the Food for Peace Act, it would make it more difficult to give food assistance to North Korea if passed by the House,’ [a] source said,” the news agency writes (6/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.