House Passes Farm Bill with Healthy Crop of Western Caucus Priorities

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Washington, June 21, 2018 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Western Caucus including House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11), Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Executive Vice Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03), Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04)and Members Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large), Ron Estes (KS-04), Tom Emmer (MN-06) and Bob Gibbs (OH-07) released statements after the House passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, by a recorded vote of 213-211.
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For Immediate Release

Date: June 21, 2018

Contact: Tanner Hanson

Tanner.Hanson@mail.house.gov

House Passes Farm Bill with Healthy Crop of Western Caucus Priorities

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Western Caucus including House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11), Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Executive Vice Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03), Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04)and Members Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large), Ron Estes (KS-04), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Jim Banks (IN-03) and Bob Gibbs (OH-07) released statements after the House passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, by a recorded vote of 213-211:

Congressman Conaway
stated, “Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work. It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up. I’m proud of what this body has accomplished, and now look forward to working with the Senate and the president to deliver a farm bill on time to the American people.”

CongressmanGosar
said, “I applaud Chairman Conaway for his strong leadership and all the time he put into crafting a thoughtful Farm Bill with meaningful reforms. 87% of Americans support requiring welfare recipients to work in order to receive benefits and that was the main reason I voted for the bill today. If we have a flawed conference process and the Senate waters down or strips out the work requirements, my vote will likely be lost as well. Having said that, I am also extremely proud of the Western Caucus victories secured in this legislation including repealing the Obama Administration's unconstitutional WOTUS Rule, authorizing significant provisions that will improve forest health and allow active management, modernizing the Endangered Species Act and streamlining wireless broadband.”

Congressman Tipton
stated, “This year’s Farm Bill addresses many issues that Coloradans face daily. In addition to maintaining and strengthening critical safety nets that will help farmers and ranchers provide families across the nation with healthy affordable food, this year’s Farm Bill includes important provisions that will help bring high-speed broadband to rural communities, restore responsible forest management practices and prevent dangerous wildfires from ravaging the West, and repeal the burdensome WOTUS rule. I was glad to vote for legislation that will help Coloradans prosper, and I now urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow our lead on the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Congressman Westerman said, “Today in the House of Representatives, we passed the 2018FarmBill. Thisbillincluded many important items for farmers across the Fourth Congressional District. Three amendments I introduced were passed and added to the farm bill to focus on forest health. One of the most notable changes in this farm bill is adding a work requirement for able-bodied, working age adults without young children at home who receive SNAP benefits. There is no better anti-poverty program than a job. That is why we introduced this important language that requires work, technical education, or even volunteer service to receive these benefits. As I travel throughout Arkansas, I see a growing economy with record low unemployment and employers eager to hire. For these reasons, I was proud to cast my support for the 2018FarmBill.”

“After three years of listening to the concerns and ideas of farmers not just in the North State, but across the entire country, I’m certain this Farm Bill will be good for American Agriculture. This legislation will impact nearly every American in some manner. We’ve included meaningful forestry reforms to help properly manage our public lands and curtail the spread of wildfires. We’ve included resources to boost economic growth and development in rural areas, streamlined the application process for broadband deployment on federal land, and we’re finally treating biomass as a higher priority source for renewable energy. Congress improved the SNAP program to make it run more efficiently. SNAP will still provide a helping hand for those in need, but it’ll also assist able-bodied adults with transitioning back into the workplace. This is exactly what the program was intended for in the first place - helping people become self-sufficient. This bill is the culmination of years of listening and learning. I’m pleased with the results,” said Congressman LaMalfa.

Congressman Cramer stated, “Today’s success is a significant step towards long term certainty for producers across America. The House Farm Bill repeals the onerous Waters of the U.S. Rule, reforms work requirements for work-capable adults in the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), enhances rainfall collection accuracy for the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage program, fixes the ARC program, and reforms swampbuster. This legislation is a direct result of listening to our constituents and creating a bill that works for them – exactly what the framers had in mind when they formed the People’s House.”

Congressman Estes said, “The farm bill provides needed certainty for Kansas farmers and ranchers by protecting crop insurance and repealing burdensome Obama-era regulations like the Waters of the U.S. rule,” said Rep. Ron Estes. “I also support investments in rural broadband and common-sense reforms to SNAP that will help those in need while encouraging Americans to get back to work. Passage of this bill is good news for Kansans and our country.”

“Today's passage of the 2018 Farm Bill is a considerable step to provide relief and certainty for our farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and across the nation. I am proud to see the House pass this critical package, which contains major improvements for farmers and ranchers such as better dairy risk management tools for smaller operations, a strong crop insurance program, improved farm safety net programs like Agricultural Risk Coverage, and efforts to better respond to emerging diseases that devastate livestock producers throughout Minnesota,”said Congressman Emmer.

Congressman Banks stated, “Hoosier farmers and agriculture producers are closer to receiving relief from this massive government power grab,” said Banks. “WOTUS gave unelected bureaucrats at the EPA the power to broadly interpret what is a navigable waterway in a way where even a puddle could be subject to federal regulation. This rule has been harmful across all industries in our country and it is time we remove the regulation once and for all. Strengthening the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for work-capable adults without dependents is a conservative reform that is necessary to ensure the program’s fiscal health while encouraging self-sufficiency.”

Congressman Gibbs concluded, “The 2018 Farm Bill includes the kind of commonsense reforms to our social safety net program that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents can agree to. By implementing reasonable and flexible work requirements, SNAP recipients who have the physical and mental capacity to work are provided every opportunity to improve their lives as they receive assistance. At the same time, we must ensure Americans who truly need long-term, even permanent nutrition assistance are not left to fall through the cracks. We have more than six million job openings in the United States and not enough skilled workers to fill them. The Farm Bill prioritizes and increases support for SNAP Education and Training programs, partnering with local and regional education institutions to deliver the necessary training and skills for a dynamic and thriving economy. Additionally, the Farm Bill fully repeals the 2015 WOTUS rule, strengthens rural broadband programs, and prevents farmers from being required to obtain a duplicative, costly, and unnecessary NPDES permit for pesticides already approved and regulated under federal law. We are taking a step forward in reforming the way our government regulates, administers important social programs, and ensures our citizens have a reliable, affordable, and safe American-grown food supply.”


Background:

Today, June 21, 2018, the House passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, by a recorded vote of 213-211.

The bill included a plethora of Western Caucus victories as detailed below.

H.R. 2 makes significant reforms to the farm and nutrition assistance programs and reauthorizes the farm bill for five years.

The bill is good for farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

The 2014 Farm Bill was initially estimated to save $23 billion over 10 years but has greatly surpassed that estimate and is now expected to save more than $100 billion.

H.R. 2 includes over 35 improvements to SNAP including establishing substantive work requirements for all work capable adults

The bill has one of the strongest forestry titles of any farm bill and was made even stronger by the Western Caucus passed amendments. Specifically, the base bills includes 10 categorical exclusions and reauthorizes the Landscape Scale Restoration Program in order to allow for active management of our nation’s forests and critical response.

This legislation includes common sense reforms to the onerous and conflicting Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation process.

  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council letter HERE.
  • Previous release from the Western Caucus when the bill was introduced HERE.

  • Summary courtesy of the House Agriculture Committee HERE.

  • For more information on the bill, visit agriculture.house.gov/farmbill.

Western Caucus Floor Amendment Highlights:

  • Includes the Jim Banks (IN-03)Amendment that repeals WOTUS. More HERE.

  • Includes the Don Young (AK-At Large) Amendment that exempts Alaska from the 2001 Roadless Rule. More HERE.

  • Includes the Mike Johnson (LA-04) Amendment that modernizes Endangered Species Act habitat requirements. More HERE.

  • Includes the Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) wireless broadband streamlining Amendment More HERE.

  • Includes the Liz Cheney (WY-At Large) grazing leases Amendment. More HERE.

  • Includes the Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large) wildfire salvage operations Amendment.
  • Includes the Bruce Westerman (AR-04) Balance of Harms & Action/No Action Amendment which requires that the costs of inaction be weighed and also provides injunctive relief.

  • Includes the Paul Gosar (AZ-04) Good Neighbor Authority for Counties Amendment. More HERE.

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