Congress is in recess this week, but Congressional staff members remain hard at work to meet the September deadline to reauthorize the Farm Bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) is expected to bring the House of Representatives’ version of the 2018 Farm Bill to the House Floor for a vote the week of May 14th, but an ongoing fight over the amendment process might delay Representative Conaway’s timeline.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Colin Peterson (D-Minnesota) is urging his colleagues to withhold amendments because the Republican-backed bill is “unfixable,” but conservative House members, such as Representative Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), are lobbying the House Rules Committee to allow an open amendment process. Conservative Republicans want to submit amendments to reduce spending across multiple titles of the Bill, but Representative Conaway argues any amendments that alter the food stamp program, farm subsidies, or crop insurance will undermine the Bill.
Last month, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) hinted at a mid-May timeline for introducing the Senate’s version of a Farm Bill. Senator Roberts is working with his ranking member, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), to produce a more bi-partisan effort that is more likely to resemble the final text of the 2018 Farm Bill.