Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee are rushing to finalize agreement on a bipartisan farm bill with an eye toward getting it out of the chamber this month to set the stage for negotiations with their House counterparts.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved bills to fund the USDA, FDA and Army Corps of Engineers that steer clear of environmental issues addressed by the House’s versions of those same spending bills.
The Senate Appropriations subcommittee advanced a fiscal 2019 spending bill for USDA and FDA that would provide $425 million in funding for rural broadband expansion to add to the $600 million that Congress provided for this year.
House Republican leaders pick up the pieces this week after another embarrassing defeat on a farm bill, which was weighed down yet again by controversial food stamp reforms before sinking because of an intra-party feud over immigration policy.
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.
The Trump administration’s new authority to provide emergency assistance to farmers strengthens U.S. negotiating authority in ongoing trade disputes with China, says Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
In a development with major implications for the next farm bill, House Republicans inserted provisions in a $81 billion disaster aid package to make cotton growers eligible for the Price Loss Coverage Program and expand an insurance program for dairy producers.