Kansas farmers will have to wait longer for a new farm bill.
In a blow to Republican leaders in Congress and the president, the U.S. House voted down a sweeping farm bill seen as key to agriculture across the country.
In dramatic fashion, the U.S. House voted down a massive farm bill that includes everything from crop insurance to rural broadband. The bill’s Republican authors lost all Democratic support over provisions that expand employment and job training requirements for people on food stamps.
“It is to help people lift themselves out of poverty,” said Representative Scott Desjarlais, R-Tenn.
Without Democrats, House Republicans could spare few defectors — and a fight over immigration led some to withhold support.
“I’m disappointed because the are unrelated,” said Representative Jody Arrington, R-Texas.
Members of a bloc of House Republicans known as the Freedom Caucus are pushing for a conservative immigration bill to be voted on before the farm bill.
Texas Republican Will Hurd says members of both parties deserve blame for the bill’s failure.
“It’s unfortunate that the Freedom Caucus and Democrats are playing political games with farmers,” said Hurd.
Meanwhile, Democrats are urging Republicans to include them in making changes to the bill.
Caught in the middle of the political squabble are farmers looking for certainty amid a multi-year drop in crop prices.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, 1.2 million fewer people a month would access food stamps under the House plan.
But there is major push back to that proposal in the Senate making those requirements far from a certainty.
Kansas Congressman Ron Estes released a statement following the failure of the farm bill. It reads:
“Kansans understand the value of hard work, so it’s unfortunate that Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats are holding Kansas farmers and ranchers hostage over requiring able-bodied people to work for food stamps.”
Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall also released the following statement:
“This effort is far from over. I am anxious to return to Congress next week to get back to work on providing our producers the certainty they deserve.”