The amount of news streaming out of Washington, D.C, may feel like drinking from a fire hose. But, there is one stream that is just a trickle and that is news of progress on the 2018, we hope, Farm Bill.
A September versus a July Farm Bill conference may be a real possibility, amid big differences between the House and Senate bills.
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) pointed out that the U.S. House of Representatives has the next move on the Farm Bill. He says the House must make the next move by rejecting the Senate version of the bill and asking to move forward to the conference effort. A spokesperson from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway’s Office said there is no plan yet on when to send the bill back to the Senate, but says staff from the Senate and House Agriculture Committees are working on figuring out how to “handle the mechanics” of the conference committee.
The goal is an on time bill, but that means lawmakers must send the bill to President Trump before September 30th.
The House of Representatives tried twice to pass the same farm legislation. It received zero Democrat votes because it contained a “welfare to work” provision. That appears to be the biggest hurdle in reconciling the two bills.
But, the House leaves for its August break in less than two-weeks, and the two Ag chairs suggest pre-conference efforts may take longer than expected.
As the prospect for work requirements in the Senate remains low, President Trump, who favors the House’s SNAP work requirements, appears likely having to decide on getting a Farm Bill without that language, or getting an extension of current law, also without new work requirements.