THE FUTURE OF THE FARM BILL DEBATE
After the failure of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) on a 198 to 213 vote this past Friday, a motion to reconsider was filed. The House has several days to act on that motion to reconsider, but it’s looking more and more like the reconsideration of the farm bill will get pushed to mid-June.
Many of the Republican votes needed were lost because the Freedom Caucus demanded a vote on an immigration bill before they would vote “yes” on the farm bill. The House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has now indicated that the House will consider a conservative immigration bill from Rep. Bob Goodlatte on June 22, which implies that the farm bill will not be reconsidered before that.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall is quoted as saying “If I was from rural America and I was running for office, I wouldn’t want to go home to run without a farm bill,” during a POLITICO interview yesterday. Certainly, this sentiment will not be lost on the Republican representatives heading home for the month in August to meet with their constituents.
Now, we play a wait-and-see game. Farmers would undoubtedly appreciate a little more certainty for their family businesses than waiting until the last minute to pass a new bill or be forced into renewing the current programs for another year.