House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway plans to bring the farm bill to the floor this week, despite a whip count that indicates he doesn’t have enough members to vote for the bill.
This farm bill vote will be a completely partisan vote with Democrats not supporting the bill over significant changes to the food stamps program known as SNAP.
On Friday, the chairman needed at least 217 other lawmakers to pass the farm bill and he reported spending the weekend bringing at least some of those votes into the fold.
According to Politico, Democrats have pledged to vote against the legislation as written. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is urging her party to oppose the bill because of proposals that would impose stricter work requirements on about 5 million to 7 million food stamp recipients while shifting billions of dollars toward state training programs.
On the Republican side, some think that the new work program requirements aren’t strict enough. Others are watching the sugar program closely, some advocating for changes and others for no change at all.
To pass the bill, Republicans will be waiting on amendments that tailor the bill to accommodate various needs. The agricultural community will be watching the amendments closely to guarantee our number one priority of “no harm done” to the federal crop insurance program.
"We feel good with where we are on this," House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a press conference Thursday. "I've long had views that the sugar program needs reforming, but what I am most interested in is getting the farm bill passed into law."