Snowballing signals from the White House of losing patience over the slow pace of ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement could force a showdown with House Democrats, and there’s a lot at stake for the U.S. ag sector.
The strained farm bill negotiations have erupted in partisan bickering amid darkening prospects for reaching an agreement by the end of the year to replace the 2014 law, which expires Sunday, Sept. 30.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressed farm bill negotiators to finalize an agreement as quickly as possible, but House Republicans used the conference committee’s first formal meeting to continue to press senators to accept tighter work requirements for food stamp recipients.
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.
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.
A partisan impasse on the House Agriculture Committee is making it more likely by the day that Congress won’t pass a new farm bill this year, forcing lawmakers to eventually pass a short-term extension of the 2014 law, say veterans of past farm bill battles.
(This is the fourth article in our new Agri-Pulse series: “The seven things you should know before you write the next farm bill.” Each segment provides important background and “lessons learned” that can help inform and stimulate debate before formal work starts on writing the next farm bill.)