Congress was unable to pass a new farm bill before the 2014 version expired at midnight on Sunday.
A joint conference committee was called in August after the 2018 farm bill was stuck in limbo without the House and Senate coming to agreement.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis was named to the committee. The Taylorville Republican said farmers should not worry about the 2014 bill’s expiration.
“The good news for our farmers is, even with this expiration, the programs that they’re utilizing, the programs that are the backbone of our risk management policy in this country like crop insurance and the commodity titles and risk management programs like ARC and PLC, they’re still going to be acting as is," Davis said.
He said Republicans want to pass the bill, but he blames the Senate for not being willing “to negotiate in good faith with us.”
“The Republicans in the House, we’re willing to sit down, even in the month of October, any day, to be able to hash out a good compromise,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, many compromises were rejected by Sen. (Debbie) Stabenow (from Michigan) and many of the Democrats in the Senate, and that’s frustrating.”
A major point of contention that held the bill up in both chambers was an update to food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House version would place tough new work requirements to qualify for SNAP, while the Senate version would strengthen the program.
Davis said SNAP is not the only point of conflict.
“It’s not just a disagreement over food stamp policy that’s holding up this farm bill,” Davis said. “There are disagreements over regulatory reform that they couldn’t come to a compromise on. There’s disagreements over things in the commodity title that they couldn’t come to a sweet spot on.”
Davis said he is “more than willing” to return to D.C. this month to reach a compromise on the bill, but many members of Congress returned to their home districts to campaign before the midterm election.
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