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After House Rejection, Farm Bill Timeline May Stretch Into 2019

22 May 2018

At first glance, the farm bill - which sets agriculture policy, authorizes the massive program of taxpayer supports and subsidies for farmers, and controls spending on food assistance programs - was an odd piece of legislation to get snared in the ongoing fight over immigration.

"There's still talks to see if we can all coalesce around an approach that addresses border security, wall funding, DACA, chain migration in a way that the president can support - a conservative solution to this problem", the Louisiana Republican said.

A new farm bill faces an uncertain future after conservative House Republicans wanting a vote on an unrelated immigration bill joined Democrats in defeating the legislation. Let's go ahead and do that; we don't have an impending deadline for the Farm bill. The vote was 213-198.

With the Goodlatte-McCaul bill now short the votes needed to pass the House, Scalise acknowledged that there is still an effort underway to try to come up with another measure that could.

Additionally, the House draft eliminated the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation's largest conservation program with more than 70 million acres enrolled.

Between Democrats opposing work requirements for food stamp recipients and conservative Republicans wanting a vote on a tougher immigration bill, they had enough votes to sink the farm bill. "We can do that again".

Nonetheless, the so-called Freedom Caucus, a group of some three dozen right-wing House Republicans who can, on occasion, wield out-sized influence, tanked the farm bill over their unhappiness with what's not been happening on immigration.

Ryan is not seeking re-election to the House but has repeatedly said he will serve the rest of this year as speaker.

For now, the focus shifts back to the immigration debate and to a petition drive led by more liberal Republicans and Democrats to force a general amnesty for illegal immigrant "Dreamers" onto the chamber floor over the objections of Republican leaders.

The president was "disappointed in the result of today's vote", Lindsay Walters, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement May 18.

While Denham said he was always confident of getting 218 signatures on the discharge petition, he noted "there's a lot more frustration and emotion" because conservatives sunk the farm bill Friday over their own immigration demands. Current farm programs begin to expire September 30 without new legislation.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the Freedom Caucus leader, said he does not think Ryan should vacate his post if the moderates succeed. "The farm bill, unfortunately, was a casualty", said Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican and Freedom Caucus member.

"What we'll end up with is an extension" of the 2014 law, said Minnesota Representative Collin Peterson, the senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. These are not work requirements; they are time limits.

The bill also repealed "categorical eligibility" provisions, which automatically qualify people for SNAP benefits when they participate in other federal or state programs. Requiring them to work more hours or earn more money under the threat of losing food assistance doesn't make it a work requirement no matter how many times it is repeated. But the alternative seemed unpalatable for many Republicans, who fear that the centrists' effort will force GOP lawmakers to take divisive election-year votes unless leaders figure out how to head them off.

After House Rejection, Farm Bill Timeline May Stretch Into 2019