Farm Bill Falls on House Floor

May 18, 2018 11:18 AM
The 2018 farm bill was brought down by the Freedom Caucus in a House vote Friday.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. EST

The House Freedom Caucus delivered a blow to GOP leadership Friday, killing the 2018 farm bill on the House floor. If failed on a 198-213 vote.

No Democrats voted for the farm bill, expressing concern over work and job training requirements for food stamp recipients. Thirty Republican members, mostly tied to the Freedom Caucus, also voted against the measure, sealing its defeat.

The conservative Freedom Caucus had pushed for guarantees on a floor vote on a conservative immigration reform package later this summer. When a scheduled vote was not secured, Cong. Mark Meadows (R-NC) indicated he and the Freedom Caucus would oppose the bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) immediately filed a motion to reconsider the bill which keeps the option open to bring the bill back to the House floor at a later time. Under House rules, leadership has two days to bring the bill back to the floor for reconsideration. It is not yet clear if Republicans will be able to secure and keep enough votes on their side of the aisle to ensure passage.

The 5-year farm bill reauthorization covers both farm programs and food programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill was passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on a strictly party line vote after republicans inserted language that would require most able-bodied adults between 18-49 to work or attend work training in order to receive SNAP benefits.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) remains confident the bill can pass the House. “We experienced a setback today after a streak of victories all week,” Conaway says via a press release.  “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.”

The ranking member on the House Ag Committee, meanwhile, is calling for the bill to be taken back to the committee to be reworked in a bipartisan fashion. “It’s unfortunate the Republicans chose to take this path, and it’s clear from their inability to get the necessary votes from within their own caucus that there are internal fractures they have to contend with,” says ranking member Collin Peterson (D-MN).  But this is a good opportunity for us to return to the table and fix this bill before we move forward. As I said in my remarks Wednesday, this job is too big for one party. Let’s come together and figure out a bill that works for everyone. We don’t have to let this process be held hostage by the demands of the extremes of our parties. We can and should take the time to get the farm bill right.”

This is a breaking story. Watch for updates.

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Spell Check

Gary Charter
Ida, MI
5/18/2018 04:46 PM

  It would be just horrible if they actually had to do something for their free money. Boo Hoo

Omaha, NE
5/19/2018 10:37 PM

  To those of you who think that the Farm Bill is a welfare program for farmers, let me school you. Our ability to feed and export food is a strategic asset. Should the government need to ramp up food quickly (like WWII), it is already there. As most of you know, you just can't rapidly ramp up farming after years of neglect. It is the same for the military industrial complex. It takes years to have these in place and functioning (farming and the military industrial complex). Those are always supposed to be somewhat healthy. Also, who wants to be the president when food prices go up or we have a major conflict and the US is not ready? Americans are used to cheap food prices and having the most powerful military in the world. If food price go up significantly or the US gets beat in a global conflict, the next election is lost. If you go to market conditions, some farmers will do well....others will be lost....and food prices will go up. By the way....the US military is one of the largest comsumers of food in the US. If food prices go up, then the government will end up spending that "welfare" money anyway. Class dismissed.

Steve E
Lubbock , TX
5/18/2018 05:11 PM

  Sending disabled folks to job training or pointless lectures is plan stupid. The farm bill is nothing more than welfare for farmers. Most of which goes to super sized or corporate farmers. It should be eliminated.