Newest Farm Bill Draft Makes It through the House

Newest Farm Bill Draft Makes It through the House

WASHINGTON, DC - Passing through by the skin of its teeth, with a 213 majority to 211, the House of Representatives voted its $867 billion farm bill through on Thursday.

Donald Trump, President, United States of America"Farm Bill just passed in the House. So happy to see work requirements included. Big win for the farmers!" Trump communicated via Twitter.

The bill includes requiring those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as food stamps, to work 20 hours per week and be enrolled in job training programs or be cut off from benefiting from the program all together. This requirement differs from the farm bill that is currently followed in that the work load is more demanding—the current bill requires those receiving SNAP, about 42 million people last year, work if they are between the ages of 18 and 49 and are without a disability, NPR reports. Additionally, the news source points out that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that over one million low-income houses will feel the results of this bill, if passed completely.

President Donald Trump responds via Twitter to the House of Representative's farm bill.

Because of disagreements on the work requirements for those receiving SNAP, spending, and immigration, 30 House Republicans sided with Democrats in voting it down a month ago. Now, the House is singing a different tune as this latest bill makes it through, barely but successfully. The unity may be, in part, due to wide-spread beliefs that the program has grown too large and that the push to promote self-sufficiency will lower the number of people relying on government funding.

Paul Ryan, Speaker, House of Representatives"This bill includes critical reforms to nutrition benefits that close the skills gap, better equip our workforce, and encourage people to move from welfare to work, so more Americans have the opportunity to tap into the economic prosperity we're seeing right now,” Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, voiced in a recent statement, according to NPR.

While Ryan praised the bill’s “critical reforms,” other members sitting in the House are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place when comparing the recently passed House bill and that of the Senate, which votes on its version of a farm bill soon. The Senate’s version does not include changes in SNAP.

Collin Peterson, House of Representatives, Minnesota"The Senate's version isn't perfect, but it avoids the hardline partisan approach that House Republicans have taken here today, and if it passes, I look forward to working with conferees to produce a conference report both parties can support, which is the only way to get a farm bill enacted into law,” Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who is the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said in NPR’s coverage.

The House of Representatives voted its $867 billion farm bill

Further, there are those who are acutely aware of the bill’s impact on agriculture—or those who vehemently state that it doesn’t strengthen agriculture at all.

Jim McGovern, House of Representatives, Massachusetts “This bill does nothing to actually strengthen agriculture programs or help farmers caught in the president’s trade war,” Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts said, according to CNBC. “I hope the bipartisan process in the Senate leads to a better bill that strengthens our farm safety net and anti-hunger programs so this attack on our most vulnerable never reaches the president’s desk.”

On the other hand, Representative Mike Conaway of Texas attests to the benefits that this bill would offer the industry and those receiving assistance from the programs.

Mike Conaway, Texas Representative, U.S. Senate“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,” Conaway expressed in CNBC’s coverage. “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 handout, but a hand up.”

The White House

As parties duke it out on Capitol Hill, industry members are feeling the heat as the impending farm bills edge closer to September 30th, when the current farm bill is set to expire after its five year run.

There are many different sides to this coin, as we are seeing from all corners of the industry and well beyond. Center for Food Safety sent out a press release calling the passing a nightmare.

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director, Center for Food Safety"This Farm Bill is an enormous wish-list for pesticide companies," Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of Center for Food Safety shared. "By allowing it to pass, Congress is creating ever greater food insecurity among the nation's most vulnerable populations and jeopardizing the health of our children, our communities, and our environment.”

Promoting the bill's progress is the American Farm Bureau Federation, which, according to CNBC, voices its support.

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation"Passage of the House farm bill today is a big win for America's farmers and ranchers," said the Bureau's President, Zippy Duvall. "Our grassroots Farm Bureau members clearly made their voices heard. By approving the 2018 Farm Bill today, members of the House recognized the serious economic challenges facing farmers and ranchers across the country."

In addition to the the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, or PIA, is praising the bills progression through the ranks in its recent press release.

Jon Gentile, Vice President, National Association of Professional Insurance Agents"PIA applauds House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) for championing the bill which recognizes the importance of a strong safety net through crop insurance, and respects the vital role played by independent insurance agents in the delivery of the federal crop insurance program," PIA’s National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile said. "When America's farmers need crop insurance, they turn to their PIA agents."

How will the bill impact the agricultural community, and, if the bill makes its way through completely, what will that look like over the next five years? AndNowUKnow will keep you in the loop as the farm bill nears its September turnover.