Senate Ag Committee Advances Its Farm Bill

Written by Andrew McNamee, Director of Government Relations

Yesterday, by an overwhelming 20-1 vote, the Senate Agriculture Committee advanced its version of the farm bill, S. 3042. The markup of the bill, when members of the committee offer their amendments and have those amendments voted upon, ended up being largely conflict-free. We applauded the Senate bill because it did not include the harmful Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provisions that were included in H.R. 2, the House version of the farm bill.

Meanwhile, GOP leadership in the House has committed to holding a vote on an immigration measure supported by the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. With that vote scheduled, Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has committed to vote in favor of H.R. 2. Meadows’ support of the bill could clear the way for other conservative members to vote for the bill before the June 22 deadline for reconsideration. (H.R. 2 failed by a 198-213 vote the first time it was considered. See our previous coverage here.)

The Senate and House bills diverge in many ways, most notably over their respective treatments of the SNAP. No members of the Senate Agriculture Committee offered amendments to the Nutrition title addressing SNAP because of the strong, bipartisan support for the program in that chamber. However, divergent opinions on the Nutrition title caused a breakdown of negotiations on the House side that stymied initial efforts to pass H.R. 2.

The House and Senate will need to come together once they pass their respective versions of the bill to negotiate a combined version that can pass both chambers, in a process called a “conference.” We will continue meeting with members of both chambers to discuss the harmful SNAP provisions in the House bill and urge that they not be included in the conference legislation.