EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers announced their new “waters of the U.S.” proposal Tuesday at an event that attracted dozens of farmers and industry leaders who had long sought straightforward definitions that allowed farmers to more clearly decide how to operate on their lands.
A compromise farm bill ready for final congressional votes melds a variety of Senate and House improvements to the major commodity programs, boosts spending on several major conservation programs while also creating a new $30 million a year program to fight animal diseases.
Farm groups welcomed news that negotiators had reached agreement on a new farm bill, but key details were being kept under wraps while lawmakers waited to learn whether the final cost estimates would force them to tweak the text.
The lead Senate negotiators said Wednesday that a final agreement on a new farm bill was "very, very close" after congressional leaders decided how to address the Trump administration's demands for new authority for addressing wildfires.
Progressive groups pushing for reforms to farm policy and opposed to nutrition assistance cuts and environmental provisions in the House-passed farm bill say Congress would be better passing no new legislation at all unless it’s similar to the bipartisan Senate version.
The four lead farm bill negotiators, meeting for the first time since some bickering erupted over the expiration of the 2014 law, declared that they are working together to reach an agreement by the end of the year.