House GOP leaders hope to pass a farm bill this week over likely unified Democratic opposition, but Republicans head into the debate divided over critical amendments on sugar policy, crop insurance and other issues.
With a farm bill floor debate looming next week, House members have filed more than half a dozen amendments attacking various aspects of the crop insurance program and others seeking to tighten rules for commodity subsidies and to roll back the sugar program.
President Donald Trump told key lawmakers Thursday that the tighter work rules for food stamp recipients in the House GOP farm bill move "in the right direction," but he stopped short of threatening to veto legislation that doesn't include them.
President Trump will meet with the chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture committees on Thursday and is expected to insist that the final farm bill include tighter work requirements on food stamp recipients, according to a source familiar with the meeting plans.
The stage is set for a bitter debate over a new farm bill as soon as next week in the House, but the deep partisan divisions could work in favor of farm groups as they try to stave off cuts to commodity programs or crop insurance.
As House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway prepares to bring his farm bill to the House floor, he has more to worry about than just whether he’s got enough GOP votes to pass it over united Democratic opposition.
Conservative organizations may like the way the House Republican farm bill would overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but they also are preparing to push the full House to end the sugar program and reform crop insurance.