The fate of the farm bill this year could hinge on whether House and Senate negotiators can find a compromise on tightening work requirements for food stamp recipients in ways that could appeal to at least some Senate Democrats.
The passage of the House and Senate farm bills over two weeks and the overwhelming, bipartisan margin of support for the Senate measure is providing new optimism that Congress can agree on a final version that President Donald Trump will sign this fall.
A bipartisan farm bill that would protect crop insurance and commodity programs as well as nutrition assistance from cuts passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin, 86-11, clearing the way for negotiations to begin next month with the House.
If history is a guide, there’s little chance Congress will enact a new farm bill this year. Congress hasn’t enacted a farm bill in the same year it was first introduced since 1990, which is what lawmakers are trying to do this year.
If the Trump administration goes ahead with a reported plan to move USDA food assistance programs to a renamed welfare department, it will run counter to the advice of one of the wisest Republican officials to serve agriculture in Washington
Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week will seek to get a strong bipartisan vote for their farm bill draft from the panel, giving the measure momentum as it heads to the Senate floor in the following days.