President Donald Trump is expected to sign the farm bill next week, reported Jim Wiesemeyer of ProFarmer. The farm bill easily cleared the House on Wednesday, 369-47.
The vote included just three Democrats who voted against the bill: Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).
House Ag ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said, “After a rocky start, I’m just proud to turn a partisan bill into a bipartisan bill. That’s the way Congress is supposed to work."
The five-year legislation largely continues current farm and nutrition policy. It is projected to cost $867 billion over a decade.
USDA will take into 2019 to implement the new farm bill and incoming House Ag Chairman Peterson says he will be watching the process closely to make sure the bill’s provisions are implemented the way lawmakers intended.
Wiesemeyer said Peterson’s concern is that lobbyists who were not able to get their clients’ wishes during development of the bill will try to shape the way the department writes the program rules.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) warned the Trump administration that House Democrats will scrutinize regulatory efforts by USDA to expand work requirements and make other changes to the food stamp program.
The final bill improves how states administer the program in an effort to cut down on inaccurate payments. In addition, it slightly increases funding for SNAP work-training programs and mandates that states give SNAP recipients more support when they enroll in such programs.
USDA is expected to release a proposed rule on work requirement waivers in the coming weeks, Wiesemeyer said.