Jun 26, 2018Senate poised to follow House in passing Farm Bill
The House of Representatives narrowly passed their version of a new Farm Bill (H.R. 2) by a vote of 213-211. This was the second time that the bill came to the House floor, having failed in May due to conservative defections primarily related to immigration legislation.
“We’re pleased that the House has been able to move the process forward,” said John Keeling, National Potato Council CEO. “Though it won’t be easy, there is now a clear path to passing a new Farm Bill before the current one expires on Sept. 30.”
The Senate has already taken procedural steps to consider the Farm Bill on the floor next week as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on H.R. 2 on June 21. The NPC said a vote is anticipated on July 2 that will allow the Senate to begin debate.
Some highlights of the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill include:
- Restores resources for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program, considered vital for potato trade issues.
- Makes $80 million available annually for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. This is an increase of $25 million annually over the current available amount.
- Maintains resources for agricultural export promotion programs through the creation of a new Foreign Market Development Program at USDA.
- Supports continued operation of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and pest and disease prevention and eradication programs.
NPC said it is also monitoring any hostile amendments that may come up in the Senate next week. The group said there have been a variety of rumors circulating that certain senators may seek to undermine agricultural programs including crop insurance, export promotion and the activities of the checkoff programs.