During an address Monday to Grange members attending the organization's annual Fly-In, Ranking House Democrat Collin Peterson warned we may be seeing "the last farm bill," if the omnibus legislation even passes through Congress this year.
"If we can't get the votes then I think we're done until the next election," Peterson said during his luncheon address at the National Press Club. "But this might be the last farm bill."
Peterson said the bill is making some progress, and is expected to come to the House floor on the week of June 17.
In spite of nearly $21 billion in proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — funding for what was formerly known as food stamps that makes up nearly 80 percent of the $1 trillion piece of legislation — Peterson said some Republicans still may not budge.
"Some Republicans tell me the high water mark among the Republican Caucus is 150 (votes)," Peterson said. "I agreed to the SNAP cuts because (Rep.) Lucas thought it's what needed to be done in order to get the votes. For some of them, $21 billion isn't enough. For some of them, $100 billion wouldn't be enough."
Peterson said he and Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) believe limiting the number of amendments to no more than 30 that can be added to be bill is necessary to allow it to pass.
"We were very pleased and honored to have Rep. Peterson offer his insight into the farm bill process to our eager crowd," National Grange President Edward L. Luttrell said. "Our members will be using this information as well as others they learned this week in their conversations with Representatives and Senators today and tomorrow across the Hill."
The National Grange Fly-In is an annual event held to encourage members of the 145-year-old organization to speak directly to their elected officials about issues of importance to rural Americans and the agriculture sector.
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