IFB: Reconsider farm bill

Timing of a second vote remains uncertain; Guebert says not revisiting the bill would be 'unacceptable.'

By Deana Stroisch

Illinois Farm Bureau urged members of Illinois’ congressional delegation to reconsider the 2018 farm bill.

“Farm Bureau members across the state and nation were frustrated and disappointed last Friday when the House voted down the next five-year farm bill,” wrote IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. “Net farm income is projected to fall to a 12-year low. And in this current climate of agricultural trade uncertainty, the farm bill’s safety net provisions become more important than ever. A ‘no’ vote on reconsideration is unacceptable.”

Guebert also thanked lawmakers for their help defeating an amendment by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. The proposal would have phased out commodity programs and crop insurance risk premium support during the next decade.

“The strong opposition – 380 votes against the McClintock amendment – was a resounding statement about the value you and your colleagues place on making critical risk management tools available for farmers,” Guebert wrote.

The House voted down the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, H.R. 2, by a vote of 198-213. The legislation needed 218 votes to pass.

Democrats opposed the farm bill over work requirements included in the bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Members of the House Freedom Caucus continue to demand a vote on immigration before they support the farm bill. Timing of a second vote remains uncertain.

Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said many farmers remain perplexed and outraged by the vote.

“They are facing very real financial challenges,” Duvall said. “We call on all members of Congress not to use farmers and ranchers as pawns in a political game. The risk management tools of the farm bill are too important, particularly at a time of depressed farm prices. We urge the House to pass H.R. 2 as soon as possible.”

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