It is now up to the U.S. Senate to bring the 2018 Farm Bill to a conference committee. The House voted last week and appointed conference members from both parties. Hopes are the Senate will make their move this week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to have a vote on the Senate floor to conference with the house on the Farm Bill. Once they have done this, the Senate will appoint its own negotiating team.
Time is running out for the current Farm Bill. The 2014 version, passed in 2015, expires September 30th. With the House leaving for their August break on Thursday, it looks like it will have to be done in September. House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN 7th) commented on the House floor last week.
Peterson also proposed instructing the House conferees to defend the House’s permanent 450-million for a new Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, a long-sought U.S. vaccine bank, and the Animal Health Laboratory Network. The Senate leaves funding up to Senate appropriators
This motion brought us a small glimmer of hope. For the first time in months, Peterson and House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX 11th) agreed.
Of course, the two have often said they have been on the same page throughout the Farm Bill talks, except when it came to work requirements tied to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It is these same requirements which have the Senate and House on opposite sides of the same fence. These may be THE sticking point in Farm Bill conference committee negotiations.