The 2018 Farm Bill was brought up for a vote in the House of Representatives today, but failed in large part due to the Freedom Caucus.
It appears that members of the so-called Freedom Caucus, a conservative wing of the Republican party, were upset that they did not have a strong enough commitment on immigration reform from House leaders. According to several sources, the Freedom Caucus wanted House leadership to call for a vote on controversial immigration legislation, which everyone agrees does not have the votes to go forward. When that deal did not go forward, the Freedom Caucus dropped support for the Farm Bill.
Democrats previously abandoned the bill after reforms were made to the food stamp side of the legislation, which would require some work requirements for recipients.
Justin Amash (R-Michigan), a member of the Freedom Caucus, tweeted earlier today asking conservatives to vote against the farm bill because it was “corporate welfare.” As I pointed out, what he really was referring to was risk support programs for family farmers that allow us to supply our nation with one of the safest and most nutritious food supplies in the world.
Corporate welfare? I think he means risk support for family farmers that allows us to supply our nation with one of the safest and most nutritious food supplies in the world. Everyone should support it. https://t.co/5Vuvx3HUVZ
— Farmers Daughter (@farmdaughterusa) May 18, 2018
I’m so disappointed by this. I was really hoping that the GOP would be able to quickly and ably pass a Farm Bill through the House. The changes to SNAP were controversial, but the changes on the agriculture side were mostly positive. It would have been nice to have this legislation passed quickly and efficiently so that farmers could be certain about the programs the Farm Bill authorizes. While it may have struggled in the Senate, the House should have been an easy win.
Of course, immigration is another huge issue for agriculture, and needs to be addressed, but there was no reason for the Freedom Caucus to hurt family farmers over their legislation that will never pass.
The Farm Bill is so important, as I’ve written about many times. I hope that the House can get its stuff together and pass legislation – either by placating the Freedom Caucus or reworking the legislation to get Democrats on board.