Silver linings in farm bill flop?

Amendment process shows strong House support for crop insurance.

By DeLoss Jahnke

The U.S. House version of the 2018 farm bill failed last week by a significant margin, 198 to 213, but the bill can still return to the floor for a new vote.

Although the failed vote puts a damper on the process, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Adam Nielsen cited some positives that came from the debate and the more than 100 amendments filed with the bill.

“Congressman (Darin) LaHood’s one-and-done for the ARC-PLC streamlining effort was passed by a voice vote,” said Nielsen, IFB’s director of national policy development. “Also good were the overwhelmingly strong votes against any cuts, or phase-out in this instance, of commodity or crop insurance risk payments.”

Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau director of national policy development
Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau director of national policy development

Related: U.S. House votes down farm bill. Read more here.

An amendment offered by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., called for a complete phase-out of crop insurance premium discounts.

“The McClintock amendment was one that we were targeting. And there were 380 ‘No’ votes. That was a huge win,” Nielsen said, adding that amendment was one of many attacks on farmers.

“There was a lot of cuts, caps, means testing ideas out there,” he said. “They decided they were going to put one of those bills on the floor, and it was the McClintock, which would have phased everything out, so there’d be nothing in the late 2020s for support for agriculture.”

Nielsen thanked IFB members for responding to the organization’s action request with more than 1,200 calls to Washington D.C. in a 24-hour span last week.

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