The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed its version of the farm bill today on its second try as Republican leadership managed to round-up just enough support to carry the bill across the finish line.
The sweeping farm and nutrition policy legislation passed by a vote of 213-211, having failed last month after Freedom Caucus members withheld support as leverage to force a vote on a conservative immigration measure.
The Senate version of the Farm Bill was approved by Senate Agriculture Committee June 13.
Democrats had walked away from today’s bill in committee over its proposals to impose stricter work requirements on millions of food stamp recipients while pouring billions of dollars into state education and job training programs.
“I applaud Chairman Conaway and the House Agriculture Committee for their diligence and hard work in passing their 2018 Farm Bill through the House of Representatives,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.
“American producers have greatly benefited from the policies of the Trump Administration, including tax reforms and reductions in regulations, however a Farm Bill is still critically important to give the agriculture community some much-needed reassurance.
“No doubt, there is still much work to be done on this legislation in both chambers of Congress, and USDA stands ready to assist with whatever counsel lawmakers may request or require.”
However, Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson said the “partisan approach of the Majority has produced a bill that simply doesn’t do enough for the people it’s supposed to serve.”
“It still leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable, it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities. The only upside to its passage is that we’re one step closer to conference, where it’s my hope that cooler heads can and will prevail,” he said.
“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.”