House to Call Farm Bill Showdown with Senate

“With the support of the Trump administration, the Republican-controlled House wrote welfare reform into the farm bill. Now, GOP leaders say they will call a vote as early as Tuesday in the House for a face-to-face confrontation with the Senate over broader and more rigorous work requirements affecting an estimated 7 million food stamp recipients.

SNAP has been the major dispute between the chambers for months, although there are significant disagreements over stewardship and crop-subsidy limits…“Obviously, we have differences,” said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts. “I’m trying to get a farm bill done.”

In the language of parliamentary procedure, the House will vote on a motion to go to conference, the most frequent method of reconciling divergent bills. With that vote out of the way, House and Senate leaders will be free to appoint their conferees, the small group of negotiators who will write a final version of the bill. Typically, the senior Republicans and Democrats on the Agriculture committees are in charge of negotiations. Roberts will chair the conference.

Although the 2018 farm law does not expire until Sept. 30, lawmakers may already feel time is slipping away. The House will be in session for only five weeks before the end of September. In the estimation of one farm lobbyist, the House and Senate negotiators are unlikely to convene a public session before September, considering the House will recess for a month in August. Conference committees are obliged to conduct one public meeting. Most of the negotiations for the final draft of the 2014 law were conducted in private among the four leaders — Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, House Agriculture chairman Frank Lucas and Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson.

House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway, who has pursued change in SNAP rules for years, has said he expects the 2018 farm bill will include tougher work requirements. Roberts and Stabenow have said divisive legislation stands little chance of passage in the Senate.”

Source: AgreeAgPolicy

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