The Senate got off to a resounding bipartisan start to its farm bill debate, voting 89-3 on a procedural motion for the legislation that would maintain the structure of the 2014 farm law while preserving a range of programs that are on the verge of running out of money and legalizing the production of industrial hemp.
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.
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.
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.
The Trump administration vowed Thursday to make it easier for farmers to bring in foreign laborers to help pick their crops and milk their cows, but offered few details on promised policy to address one of the ag sector’s most pressing concerns.