Farm Bill Moves to House Floor This Week, Will It Pass?

House Republican Leadership is expected to bring their version of 2018 Farm Bill, H.R. 2, to the House floor this week for debate and a vote, but the bill’s fate will first be determined by the House Rules Committee.

The House Rules Committee will meet late Tuesday to set the terms of debate and again on Wednesday afternoon to decide which of the over 100 proposed amendments will be considered, but USA Rice is not waiting for the final list.

“We know there are some controversial proposed amendments that would damage or dismantle the farm safety net,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs.

“We’re asking our members to contact their representatives now to remind them of the rice industry’s economic impact in their districts and also to urge them to oppose amendments that would alter the commodities title that, if adopted, compromises the rice industry’s support of this bill.”

Mosely said USA Rice is specifically tracking amendments that would weaken the farm safety net, including unworkable payment limitations and means testing reducing the access to and effectiveness of commodity and conservation programs, and amendments that threaten crop insurance.

“USA Rice supports the positive provisions for the rice industry in the committee-passed bill and opposes all harmful amendments that would undermine the farm safety net and jeopardize passage.  There is a short and finite timeframe to pass a new Farm Bill before the current legislation expires on September 30,” Mosely said.

“A core purpose of the Farm Bill is to ensure farmers have the tools they need to protect themselves against factors beyond their control, such as weather, natural disasters, tariffs, and trade barriers.  A strong Farm Bill in 2018 is essential to provide long-term certainty and price protections for the rice industry in a time of steep decline in net farm income.”

USA Rice will be in touch with Congressional offices throughout the debate to ensure that Congress understands our priorities.

“We will continue to communicate with our members as Farm Bill developments transpire, and encourage them to ask their members of Congress to oppose these harmful amendments and seek passage of a practical and effective bill,” said Mosely.

Votes on amendments could potentially begin on Wednesday, May 16.

Source: Lesley Dixon, Agfax

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