Ag Chair Mike Conaway Feeling the Pressure Today as House Farm Bill Discussions Get UnderwayWed, 16 May 2018 11:26:49 CDT
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays was joined on the phone this morning with Oklahoma’s 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas ahead of proceedings this morning which will either get the ball rolling on Farm Bill debate in the US House of Representatives or potentially roadblock it if House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway fails to muster enough support from his colleagues to move the bill forward.
The first vote to take place today will be to approve the rules process which was established by the Rules Committee yesterday. This is a very important first step as it will indicate whether or not Chairman Conaway’s Bill in its current form has legs or not. However, Lucas is confident that the rules will be adopted, and discussion will get underway on the first dozen or so amendments - most of which he says will cover the larger issues at hand like the sugar program and crop insurance - those things that cut to the core of the farm safety net.
“It’s critically important. Customarily that’s done by the majority party - the Republicans in this case. That makes it all the more important,” he said. “But, I believe we will adopt the rule. I believe we’ll begin general debate. I think we will launch into the amendments. There’s been about 111 amendments filed. I don’t expect 111 amendments to be made in order. I could potentially see in addition to this first dozen or so, maybe another dozen or so. As always, those of us who care about rural America, who care about meeting our needs, are just going to have to stand on the floor and fight it out.”
Republicans are going into this meeting with the understanding that they will be faced with harsh partisan opposition - particularly regarding the controversial proposed SNAP requirements in addition to certain safety net programs. Lucas maintains that he and his allies in the House will remain committed to protecting farmers and their needs from the personal preferences of their colleagues across the aisle.
“I would argue as I’ve always argued, if a Farm Bill is about raising the food and fiber we need in a plentiful supply, highest quality, most cost effective - then the resources should follow production,” Lucas remarked. “I serve with members who think the Farm Bill should be used to define what they personally think a farm or ranch should be; to define which parts of the country should be engaged in farming and ranching and how it should be done. I hope we can again beat those amendments back because it is just critically important that we maintain the safety net.”
Listen to Hays’ conversation with Congressman Lucas over the phone as they discuss the process ahead of House members today and the challenges they face, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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