House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) is still counting votes, hours before the House is set to reconsider the farm bill.
“We’re counting noses and making sure everyone is here to vote,” Conaway told Chip Flory on Farm Journal’s AgriTalk Radio Show Thursday morning.
When the farm bill was first considered by the full House in May it failed after 30 republicans, led by the conservative Freedom Caucus, voted against the bill on an otherwise party-line vote. The Freedom Caucus held up the bill over demands for a floor vote on a conservative immigration reform bill.
That immigration bill, along with a second, moderate bill, will be considered on the floor today, clearing the way for the new vote on the farm bill.
“They’ll get votes they’ve asked for,” Conaway said referring to the Freedom Caucus led by Cong. Mark Meadows (R-NC). “Leadership will deliver on their side of the deal, and then it’ll be up to Mark Meadows, et al, to deliver the votes that they said they would deliver so that we can get to the magic one vote more than ‘no.’”
Conaway told the AgriTalk audience he believes he has the votes necessary, but won’t know for sure until the vote tally comes this afternoon. “Until they put that green light up on the board and voting ‘yes’ they’re subject to some sort of change. We know who needs to vote ‘yes’ and who said they couldn’t help us… I’m going to be a little anxious, my blood pressure might be a little higher.”
Conaway said he does not expect any ‘yes’ votes from Democrats.
If the farm bill passes both the House and Senate this week, Conaway said he expects a conference committee to take up the farm bill next month.
Listen to the entire Mike Conaway interview on AgriTalk in the player below.