WASHINGTON — The House rejected a comprehensive farm, nutrition and conservation bill on Thursday, leaving in limbo programs affecting cotton farmers and textile producers, and potentially agitating a trade dispute with Brazil.
The defeat of the $940 billion bill on a vote of 195 to 234 came as a surprise to GOP House leadership. The legislation aimed to broadly implement farm safety-net policies, and conservation and food stamp programs, over the next five years. But a majority of Democrats refused to support it because it contained steep cuts to food stamp programs, and 62 Republicans also voted against it. The Senate passed a farm bill earlier this month, but the failure in the House threw passage of the legislation into doubt.
Federal funding for a program supporting U.S. textile mills that use domestic cotton will expire on Sept. 30 if Congress does not pass either a new farm bill or an extension of the current farm legislation. Under the Economic Adjustment Assistance program in the bills, the government gives domestic textile mills 3 cents a pound on domestic or imported upland cotton they use, as long as the money is invested in acquiring, modernizing or expanding land, plants, buildings or equipment.
The National Council of Textile Organizations “is hopeful that leaders in the House will work with the Agriculture Committee chairman to resolve the remaining issues in the 2013 farm bill that caused its defeat,” said Sarah Pierce, senior vice president of NCTO. “Given the important Economic Adjustment Assistance program that is contained within the bill, NCTO urges the House leadership to act fast to bring a passable bill to the floor. U.S. textile producers rely on the economic adjustment assistance programs to reinvest in their plants and equipment, which allows for more American jobs in rural communities nationwide.”
The bill’s failure in the House could also aggravate a long-standing cotton subsidy dispute with Brazil. The legislation sought to bring into compliance U.S. cotton subsidy programs that were found to violate World Trade Organization rules in a case brought by Brazil dating back to 2002. Brazil has maintained that U.S. cotton subsidies depress global cotton prices. The WTO sided with Brazil and issued a series of findings between 2005 and 2008.
The U.S. and Brazil reached an agreement in 2011 that averted $800 million in sanctions. The U.S. agreed to make some changes in its cotton export and credit guarantee program, and to work with Brazil to establish a $147.3 million fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building for the Brazilian cotton industry. Brazil has identified a list of U.S. exports it would sanction, including raw cotton, woven fabric, cotton pants and shorts, and some jewelry and beauty products.
An official at the Brazilian embassy, who requested anonymity, said they are still evaluating the situation and declined to comment.
“If Congress does not enact a new farm law, payments to Brazil of $147 million a year will continue,” said Terry Townsend, executive director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee. “Eventually Brazil may lose patience and decide to retaliate, but for the time being I think the status quo will continue.”
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @@Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion