House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway hopes to finally get his farm bill to the Senate this week, but the outcome hinges on House Republican leaders going forward with plans to debate a pair of competing immigration measures.
Agriculture, food, forestry and renewable energy political action committee donations in the 2018 election cycle remains skewed heavily in favor of the Republican Party, but in the Senate, two incumbent Democrats are reaping the most contributions.
The House and Senate Agriculture committees are setting up a likely battle over commodity payment limits after their respective farm bills get out of their respective chambers. The outcome could be a stalemate that leaves existing law in place.
For the second time in five years, House Republicans failed to pass a farm bill, this time because of conservative demands for action on immigration and fierce Democratic opposition to the legislation's food stamp reforms.
By a surprisingly large bipartisan margin, the House easily defeated the latest attempt by food and candy manufacturers to reduce sugar prices, rejecting an amendment that would have ended domestic marketing controls for the commodity.
Republican leaders desperate to push through a partisan farm bill through the House that overhauls the food stamp program are heading off attempts to cut crop insurance or tighten commodity payment limits.
House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway is struggling to cobble together the votes he needs from GOP colleagues to pass his farm bill while fending off amendments that would roll back the sugar program or cut crop insurance.
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.