House GOP conservatives passed its version of the 2018 farm bill after failing to do it a month ago. Members of the “Freedom Caucus” got their debate and a vote on immigration reform that they required before voting ‘yea’ on a farm bill, which did not pass. The narrow 213 to 211 vote now sets up a likely House-Senate negotiation on a final bill next month.
American Farm Bureau’s Andrew Walmsley says that while there are big differences between the House and Senate SNAP requirements, there are other, lesser differences as well.
“Both of the bills have improvements to the dairy program and some additional funding in there. You see a slight tweak to the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) in the House bill, where the Senate focuses a little bit more on making some improvements to the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program. Crop insurance, not a ton of differences between the two titles outside of recognizing the importance of having crop insurance for farmers, ranchers, and the rural economy. They both have authorized a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank.”
Both bills also boost the guaranteed loan limit by some 350-thousand to 1-point-75 million, and invest more in research, rural development, broadband, and opioid addiction programs.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) released the following statement after passage of HR 2:
“Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work. It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up. I’m proud of what this body has accomplished, and now look forward to working with the Senate and the president to deliver a farm bill on time to the American people.”
Democratic National Committee spokesperson Mandy McClure released the following statement:
“This is a bad bill, plain and simple. Make no mistake, 213 House Republicans voted to take food off the tables of hungry families — including seniors, students, children, people with disabilities, and veterans. Their partisan bill puts billionaires over family farmers and guts important investments in rural development. House Republicans’ extreme demand of denying food assistance to millions of Americans could jeopardize prospects for enacting a long-term bill that benefits farmers, rural communities, and the entire country.
“The farmers of America and the millions of families they feed deserve better. From trying to cut funding for SNAP benefits and Meals on Wheels to trying to repeal health care, the Republican Party is hell-bent on attacking our most vulnerable citizens and taking away the basic pillars of economic security. But while Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress continue to push policies that would be disastrous for working families, Democrats are fighting for an economy that works for everyone. We will continue to work on a bipartisan bill that puts farmers and families first.”
The current farm bill expires September 30.