House and Senate work to reconcile a final version of the Farm Bill

09/05/2018 01:42 PM

Washington D.C. – Eva McKend

The Farm Bill Conference Committee held their first public meeting Wednesday to begin the process of reconciling a final version of the behemoth bill.

Before their meeting began, President Trump signaled via tweet that he wanted a bill that includes work requirements for people receiving food stamps, the grocery subsidies officially called “SNAP.”

The Farm Bill is a multibillion dollar omnibus bill passed roughly once every five years that covers agricultural, food and farm policy.

The highly partisan House version of the bill, only supported by Republicans, includes work requirements for people who receive benefits while the Senate version does not.

It will be a rough road ahead for the Conference Committee as Republicans and Democrats remain largely divided on who should qualify for benefits.

“It’s a Farm Bill. It’s a food bill. It’s a jobs and economic development bill. That’s why it’s so troubling the House passed a partisan bill that hurts hungry families, creates massive new bureaucracy, making it easier for Wall Street investors, those who don’t do a day of work on the farm,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio.

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern (D) called the House version “a rotten deal for poor people.”

Meanwhile, House Republicans described the current SNAP program as a “welfare trap.”

“One of the top concerns I hear from Kentucky businesses is the shortage of available employees. The House Farm Bill takes steps to lift Americans out of poverty through the best assistance plan I know of: a job,” said Rep. James Comer ®, a Kentucky farmer and former Commissioner of Agriculture for the state.

“I know the challenges my fellow farmers and all rural Americans face, market swings, changing weather, trade disputes, all things outside of the control of our constituents,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell largely stayed away from the contentious debate, focusing instead on forwarding an initiative to deregulate industrial hemp.

“Failure is not an option. We need to get a Farm Bill signed into law before the end of September,” said the Republican from Kentucky.


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