Published: Mon, May 21, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Farmers Are Suffering Setbacks Under GOP Control, Texas Republican Says

Farmers Are Suffering Setbacks Under GOP Control, Texas Republican Says

Republican leadership in Congress got a wake-up call Friday morning when members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) shot down a farm bill in order to secure a vote on an immigration proposal they were promised months ago.

The 213-198 vote is an embarrassing blow to House GOP leaders, who had hoped to tout its new work requirements for recipients of food stamps. Some 30 Republicans joined with every chamber Democrat in opposition. The work for the food stamps initiative polls well with voters, especially those in the Republican base.

The outcome exposed what is becoming an all-out war within the House GOP over immigration, a divisive fight the Republicans did not want to have heading into midterm elections in November that will decide control of Congress.

According to Mr. Novakovic, the Senate seems more conservative in its aspirations for the bill, and it will be hard to create a joint bill.

"I'm certainly disappointed that the farm bill came down", Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., said. "You don't hold one thing hostage for something that's totally different and has nothing to do with it".

"If they will listen to me I can deliver a lot of Democrats on this bill", Peterson said. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Michael McCaul of Texas's immigration bill to the floor for a vote.

With Republicans now controlling both Houses, the big initial Farm Bill controversy has been over the GOP's desire (lashed along by the Trump administration) to toughen SNAP's already significant work requirements.

"This is all the more disappointing because we offered the vote these members were looking for, but they still chose to take the bill down", Ryan spokesman Doug Andres said of the Freedom Caucus' immigration demand. "I just didn't see how we could do this on a partisan basis".

"We understand politics are at play", said Rogers, a fifth-generation Arizona farmer.

Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Prescott and Andy Biggs of Gilbert voted against the bill along with other members of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

But as lawmakers ticked through the final amendment votes to the farm bill, Freedom Caucus leaders made clear in a huddle on the floor with GOP leaders that a future vote wasn't enough - it had to be immediate - before, even, the farm bill that was about to be considered, two sources said.

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Today, the House voted on an $867 billion Farm Bill. It said the percentage of recipients is similar on the national level, where 42 million received food stamps past year.

The House failed to pass the farm bill, a key piece of legislation that addresses federal agriculture programs.

Yet, there was something larger at play: immigration, a policy issue that helped fuel the rise of Trump and helped lead Republicans to take the House and Senate in 2016.

On Thursday evening, Trump tweeted his support for the farm bill.

"It sets up a system for SNAP recipients where if you are able to work, you should work to get the benefits", said Ryan, R-Wis".

Voting against the bill also harms the prospects of struggling Americans who need help finding work, Conaway said. "But I am optimistic that we will get a bill passed before the end of the year".

House Democrats erupted in cheers when the measure failed. "The bill cuts more than $23 billion in SNAP benefits and will result in an estimated 2 million Americans unable to get the help they need".

"Today, instead of updating and improving our farm bill, Washington politicians used it to turn farm and ranch families into bargaining chips in global trade discussions and this country's immigration reform failures", said Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse, in an emailed statement.

On Thursday, supporters of the agriculture safety net easily defeated an attempt to weaken the government's sugar program, which critics say gouges consumers by propping up sugar prices.

The sweeping farm legislation covers a wide range of issues relevant to Northern New York residents, including protections for specialty crops, access to rural broadband, changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and a number of dairy protections.

Contrary to what its name suggest, the Farm Bill is not mainly about the actual farming industry, largely because the Department of Agriculture has so many duties.

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