Although the federal government effectively shut down yesterday, Congress has made some procedural progress on the Farm Bill. The House of Representatives combined the agriculture portion of its Farm Bill, passed in July, with the nutrition portion of its Farm Bill, passed in September, and approved the combined bill by a vote of 226-191 over the weekend. The bill was then sent to the Senate.
On Tuesday, the Senate rejected the House bill and called for a conference committee to resolve differences between the two bills. The Senate then appointed the same conferees for the bill that were appointed earlier this year. They are Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), as well as Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Boozman (R-AR) and John Hoeven (R-ND).
The next formal step in the process is for the House of Representatives to appoint its conferees. IDFA is urging that Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Representative David Scott (D-GA), sponsors of a successful amendment to eliminate the controversial Dairy Market Stabilization Program from the bill, be appointed. However, the current government shutdown may cause some delay in the House taking action. In addition, it appears likely that the large difference between the two bills in the amount of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will need to be resolved before significant progress can be made on the remainder of the issues.
For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.