House Passes Farm Bill; Senate Debate Underway

FloridAgriculture  e-News
July 2018

By a narrow vote of 213 to 211, H.R. 2, the House’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill, passed on the second attempt within a month on Thursday, June 21. The first vote was held on May 18 and failed as a result of conservative GOP holdouts who were incensed over inaction on immigration legislation. Florida Farm Bureau supported adoption of H.R. 2 and acknowledged multiple policy priorities within the legislation, including:

  • Re-inclusion of seed cotton under Title 1 of the Farm Bill for our cotton farmers;
  • Improvements to the dairy safety net and the Margin Protection Program for Florida’s dairy industry;
  • Funding a National Vaccine Bank to combat Foot-and-Mouth Disease to ensure the integrity and health of Florida’s cattle population;
  • Sustaining $25 million in annual citrus greening research through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative to invest in an ongoing search for a solution for our citrus growers;
  • Maintaining the success of the current federal sugar program for Florida’s sugarcane producers;
  • Reducing regulatory redundancy by achieving FIFRA/ESA reform for Florida’s farmers and ranchers.

 

A major THANK YOU to the following U.S. Representatives from Florida who voted in favor of the 2018 Farm Bill:

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (FL-02)

U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-03)

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04)

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06)

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (FL-08)

U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-11)

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15)

U.S Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16)

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17)

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18)

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (FL-19)

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)

On June 28, the Senate Farm Bill passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, 86-11, with Senators Nelson and Rubio voting in favor of final passage. There was some brief excitement when Sen. Rubio delayed the vote by a day to take a stand against taxpayer funding of trade expeditions to Cuba; Sen. Rubio was successful in securing the reforms he sought.

The two chambers produced differing bills, especially in the conservation and nutrition titles. The Senate and House bills will be reconciled in conference in the coming weeks. Leadership within both houses will appoint members to the conference committee in the coming days. A final bill should be agreed to and signed by the President by September 30, which is when the current Farm Bill expires.