House Passes Its Problematic Farm Bill, Senate to Debate Its Better Version

Written by Andrew McNamee, Director of Government Relations

The House of Representatives took another shot at passing its version of the farm bill (H.R. 2) on Thursday, and in a razor-thin 213-211 vote, was successful this time. The same bill had failed when it was first voted upon last month (see our previous coverage here), but lawmakers had a deadline of June 22 to reconsider it. The difference this time was eight members of the Freedom Caucus, including its chairman Mark Meadows, changing their votes and supporting the bill.

We supported certain international provisions in the House farm bill, including elimination of the requirement to “monetize” U.S. commodities, but the bill has several problematic provisions related to domestic programs. It included expanded work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 12 who are currently exempt from such requirements, meaning that those parents will have to secure and compensate childcare services so they are able to work.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted 89-3 on Monday in favor of a procedural motion to begin debate on its version of the farm bill this week. The Senate version of the bill is resoundingly bipartisan, unlike the House bill, which was passed by a narrow margin over the united opposition of Democrats. The Senate bill, which doesn’t include many of the problematic provisions included in the House bill, previously passed through the Senate’s Agriculture Committee on a 20-1 vote.