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June 28
​Lawmakers Search for Paths to Farm Bill Passage

The recent dismantling of the farm bill on the House floor seemed to signal the end of any long-term agricultural authorizations for the foreseeable future, but there have been efforts from lawmakers in both chambers to explore options for reviving the bill or temporarily extending funding for the bill’s programs.  In a heated June 24 press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called on House leadership to take up the Senate version of the farm bill, vowing that the upper chamber would not pass another temporary extension.

Perhaps in response to Sen. Reid’s demands, on June 26, Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced the Senate farm bill in the House.  The new bill (H.R. 2498) is considered to be a non-starter, however, due to the significant difference in funding cuts to nutritional titles between the Senate bill and farm bill legislation preferred by House leadership. 

Meanwhile, in a Republican Conference meeting on June 26, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) suggested the separation of contentious nutritional titles and other farm bill titles into two different pieces of legislation, asserting that such a division would bring “at least a dozen” of the 60 Republicans who voted against the farm bill back to the table.  House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) disagreed with this sort of separation, stating that splitting the provisions would essentially dissolve any substance from a long-term farm bill.  Despite Chairman Lucas’s concerns, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) considers the separation of nutrition titles to be best path forward for the farm bill, perhaps creating enough Republican support for the measure to pass the bill without any votes from the other side of the aisle.

Contact: Arthur Scott ascott@naco.org 202.942.4230

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