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Senate committee to meet on farm bill

By Jessica Domel

The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition will reportedly release its draft of the 2018 Farm Bill in the coming days.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow announced a committee business meeting on the farm bill at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 13, to consider the bill.

“We are pleased to announce the Senate Agriculture Committee’s timely consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill,” the senators said. “It has been more than a year of travelling across the country listening to farmers, ranchers, rural communities and those in need. Now the time has come to put what we’ve learned into a bipartisan bill that will provide much-needed certainty for agriculture, families and rural America.”

The text of the bill, which was still being discussed as of late Wednesday evening, will reportedly be released before that meeting on the committee’s website.

Committee sources told reporters earlier this week there will likely be no major changes to the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs in Title I of the bill.

The June 13 hearing will be broadcast live online at Ag.Senate.Gov.

The U.S. House of Representatives is also likely to take up its ag committee’s draft of the farm bill again this month.

On May 18, the House farm bill failed in a 198 to 213 vote. All but 30 Republicans voted for the bill. No democrats supported it.

According to Politico, the bulk of the Freedom Caucus is demanding a vote on immigration legislation before the farm bill is reconsidered.

The House has until June 22 to reconsider the farm bill, although Congress may be able to extend that deadline if needed.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a motion to reconsider the vote on the farm bill before June 22.

Through NDAA, the farm bill can be brought up and considered without any additional amendments being offered.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

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