The House version of the Farm Bill did not get the votes needed to pass Friday, but the cause is not the Democrats that stood firmly against the bill from the get-go.
Instead, at the 11th hour, GOP leadership hit a snag—members of the Freedom Caucus demanded something be done about immigration and there was no negotiating.
On Friday’s AgriTalk, Tyson Redpath of the Russel Group said he (before the final vote on the bill) thought that the bill would get the votes it needed but admitted that immigration is a big issue.
“Clearly the vote on the Farm Bill is not necessarily views on the Farm Bill, but a vote on immigration,” said Redpath, “The reason that has been brought back to the forefront is inaction...we have kicked this political football for 15 or 16 years.”
The bill needed 206 votes to pass, but fell 8 short with a final vote of 198-213. When the dust cleared, a total of 30 Republicans voted against the bill. The fight may not be over, as the door has been left open for another vote, possibly next week.
Iowa farmer Pam Johnson told AgriTalk host Chip Flory she hopes that this doesn’t turn into an extension.
“We need a farm bill now and I think that’s the message we need to bring,” said Johnson, “1 percent of Americans are farmers and ranchers and a lot of those legislators are urban and they pay attention to the other 99 percent of their constituents…so you’ve got to bring people together.”
Pam was the president of the National Corn Growers Association in 2013, and watched the Farm Bill get defeated on the House floor several times.
Following Friday’s vote Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) released a statement saying, “We experienced a setback today after a streak of victories all week. We may be down, but we are not out. We will deliver a strong, new farm bill on time as the President of the United States has called on us to do. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural America deserve nothing less.”
Flory, Redpath, Johnson, and Real Agriculture’s Shaun Haney took time to discuss news that China had ended its investigation into U.S. sorghum dumping. They also looked at trade talks with China and NAFTA, as congress’ deadline placed on a new NAFTA deal lapsed this week.
You can catch the full conversation with Redpath, Johnson, Flory, and Haney by clicking on the player above