Optimism Surrounds Upcoming House Farm Bill Vote

Brian German Agri-Business, Legislative

The House of Representatives will be taking another farm bill vote before the Friday, June 22 deadline and some on Capitol Hill believe that there is a promising chance of its passage. The bill was defeated on the House floor on May 18 after the House Freedom Caucus withheld its support until immigration issues were addressed.

NCBA President Kevin Kester from California visits with FCA Executive Director Jim Handley during the Youth Appreciation Luncheon during this week’s Florida Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention in Orlando.

“This time around, assuming we get a vote on the two immigration bills, the Freedom Caucus of the Republican Caucus will cast a ‘yes’ vote for the farm bill and it should pass without any amendments, the same version that was voted down a month ago,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester.

According to Politico, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows has indicated that he believes there will be sufficient support of the farm bill within the caucus to ensure the bill’s passage. That support will hinge on GOP leadership upholding the agreement to vote on immigration legislation. Meadows also noted that there are additional undisclosed issues that need addressing to ensure a positive vote from the House Freedom Caucus.

There is also a slight possibility that the House will not hold the second farm bill vote by Friday, as House Majority Whip Steve Scalise noted that the deadline is flexible. However, Kester believes that the vote will take place as scheduled, “they could extend it, but the leadership wants to get this deal done and get it over with because that’s what they said they would do.”

On the other side of the Hill, the Senate farm bill will soon be on the floor before the Independence Day recess. The next ten days will be closely followed as the process to establish the 2018 farm bill moves forward. “If those two things happen then the farm bill will go to conference, and it will take a few weeks to hammer that out, but if everything goes as expected now, by September 30 at the expiration of the current farm bill we could have the new one in place,” said Kester.


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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West