U.S. lawmakers agree on Farm Bill, aiming for vote this week

U.S. lawmakers have reached an agreement on the Farm Bill that drops a proposal to tighten food stamps restrictions backed by President Donald Trump, and are looking to vote on it this week, according to congressional staffers.

Attendees wait in line to enter the 2018 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, U.S., August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jordan Gale

The agreement between Republicans and Democrats on the crucial piece of legislation caps a months-long bitter debate, and offers a spot of financial certainty to farmers suffering from the impact of the U.S. trade war with China. Programs covered by the bill include crop subsidies and support to growers seeking access to export markets.

The final text shows Republicans in the lame duck Congress had to walk back from some demands, the biggest being the Trump-backed proposal to impose stricter worker requirements for recipients of food stamps.

That debate had delayed the legislation beyond the most recent version’s expiration in September, and was finalized only after Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives in the November midterm congressional elections.

Food stamps, as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is known, are used by more than 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the total U.S. population.

The move to tighten eligibility criteria failed to garner enough support in the Senate, and Trump blamed Democrats opposed to the tighter restrictions for stalling the bill.

“It was certainly a compromise,” a staffer at the House Agricultural Committee said. “We’ve had significant differences in virtually every title and had robust debate about them.”

China, normally the top buyer of U.S. farm produce, has been absent from the market after the imposition of tariffs due to the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

The bill will extend the eligibility for crop subsidies to nephews, nieces and cousins of a farmer, which is likely to escalate criticism over what is already seen as a too-broad definition of who qualifies for the funds.

At the moment, a farmer’s immediate family can be eligible for crop subsidies up to $125,000 per person based on “active engagement.” Opponents say such language is vague and could apply to people who do not even live on the farm and only carry out management roles.

The administration has also been criticized because a portion, albeit small, of the farm aid designed to offset the losses of farmers from the imposition of tariffs ended up with people living in cities who spent little time at a farm.

A congressional staffer defended the move. “Farming is no longer about being on top of a tractor,” he said, adding that making more family members eligible for aid could help attract younger generations to farming business. 

Committee staffers expect the conference report to be out later on Monday or Tuesday. The final bill could move to the House floor for a vote as early as Wednesday, potentially followed by a vote at the Senate on Thursday.

Once the votes are completed, the bill goes to Trump for final signature.

reuters.com
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in june
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
Society
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
Society
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
Society
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Society
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Crime
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
Society
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
Society
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Society
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...