Ag News

U.S. House votes down farm bill

On May 18, the U.S. House voted down H.R. 2, the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (the House version of the farm bill) by a 213-198 vote. All 10 of Georgia’s Republican representatives voted in favor of the bill, while all four of the state’s Democratic representatives voted against it.

“Georgia Farm Bureau is disappointed with the outcome, but our organization will continue to advocate for Georgia’s farmers as this important process moves forward,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “This legislation is just as important to American consumers as it is for farmers because it ensures the majority of our food will continue to be grown in our country, where we have the best food safety standards in the world, rather than imported from countries where we can’t control production standards.”

The vote hinged on 30 Republicans voting against the bill. Many of the “no” votes were cast by representatives who were attempting to force a separate vote on an unrelated immigration bill, a strategy that drew criticism from House Ag Committee members Rick Allen (R-Georgia) and Austin Scott (R-Georgia).

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the strategy holds the farm bill hostage and by extension, the nation’s farmers and ranchers.

House Democrats took issue with the work requirements included in the section of the bill addressing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly referred to as food stamps).

After the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) made a motion to reconsider. The House Rules Committee later approved a rule for an unrelated bill which allows the House to act on Ryan’s motion through June 22—meaning another vote on H.R. 2 is possible if the House can reach an agreement on an immigration package.

The 2014 farm bill expires Sept. 30.