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House Farm Bill Could Get New Vote Today


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., listed a revote on the farm bill on today’s House floor schedule, although the bill’s prospects for passage are still uncertain.

According to McCarthy’s schedule, the farm bill vote would come after consideration of H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. That bill will have a closed rule with one hour of debate.

There remain doubts over whether the House farm bill will have enough votes to pass.

The House Rules Committee met at almost 11 p.m. Wednesday to issue a rule on the Goodlatte bill because there had been a technical error. The document on the rule notes that the bill contains an amendment that “improves the ‘H-2C’ agricultural guestworker program created by the bill by, among other things, streamlining the process by which unlawfully present farmworkers can become H-2C workers and more quickly implementing the at-will component of the H-2C program. In addition, the amendment removes the bill’s reference to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

After consideration of the Goodlatte bill, the House is scheduled to consider the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, also introduced by Goodlatte. It also has a closed rule and one hour of debate.

After that, McCarthy said, the House would “complete consideration of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, under a structured rule.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, told reporters Wednesday that he expected a revote on the farm bill today, but that it could slip to Friday.

The Freedom Caucus, many of whose members voted against the farm bill in May, had demanded a vote on an immigration bill before being willing to vote for the farm bill.

Under a rule adopted by the House after the farm bill failed, the deadline for the farm bill revote is Friday.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., had told reporters that he would support the bill, but the atmosphere surrounding the Freedom Caucus’ willingness to cooperate was thrown into question Wednesday when Meadows and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., engaged in a shouting match on the House floor over immigration legislation. The exchange was reported by Fox News.

But Ben Williamson, communications director for Meadows, tweeted late Wednesday that “Rep. Meadows had a good follow-up conversation with Speaker Ryan just now, after today’s floor events. Working to resolve a communication issue on the compromise immigration bill.”

McCarthy said the last votes are expected between 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. today.

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