House Republicans Disagree on Best Path Forward for Farm Bill
Ahead of the 4th of July recess – there was talk amongst House Republicans about splitting the farm bill into two measures. Several Congressmen who voted against the measure would like to split farm programs from nutrition programs. Indiana Representative Marlin Stutzman actually offered an amendment to the Rules Committee to split the FARRM Act apart – but it was ruled out of order. He said last week (week of June 24) what has worked in the past didn’t work. He said during a House Republican Conference meeting that members could moan and groan and blame each other or admit times have changed, things are different and a different strategy is needed. Stutzman argued the best way forward is to separate the agriculture language of the bill from the nutrition program and work on them individually. According to Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina – a group of members told leadership they would vote for the agriculture portion with no problems if the bill were split. But according to House Ag Chair Frank Lucas – splitting the bill is unacceptable. Splitting the bill – he said – simply means not having a bill. Lucas said that is the least acceptable option – but everything else is on the table and he’s working through the scenarios with his friends. Lucas had said earlier in the week that leaders have to decide if they need to try for more Republican support or seek to bring on new Democrats.