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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In the Nation

Farm Bill Authorization Stalls in Congress

Monday, October 15, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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Spotted LanternflyWASHINGTON D.C. – The 2014 Farm Bill expired on September 30 of this year as Congress squabbled over key provisions of the bill to reauthorize spending on agricultural programs for another five years.

Key provisions in the Farm Bill that are important to the green industry include:

·   Research on plant diseases and pests, such as the emerald ash borer and the spotted lanternfly;

·   Grants to promote the use of landscaping and landscape plants, know as the “Specialty Crop Grant program;”

·   Conservation programs that encourage the planting of trees to conserve soil and improve water quality;

·   Insurance for greenhouse crops.

With the previous Farm Bill now expired, there will be little impact in the short-term. However, as the delay in reauthorization continues, the programs mentioned above may get short-changed or delayed.

House and Senate Differences

At the crux of the problem is that the House and the Senate have passed very different versions of the Farm Bill. A conference committee was formed to work out the differences, including both Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate. Not only are there differences between the Republicans and Democrats, but also between the House and Senate Republicans.

Food Stamps Main Sticking Point

The main sticking point seems to be the food stamp program, now called SNAP. The House Republicans are calling for work requirements to be eligible to receive food stamps, while the Senate Republicans and Democrats of both houses oppose work requirements. There are many other differences, but this seems to be the major issue creating a barrier to getting the Farm Bill reauthorized.

Outlook

To be sure, nothing will happen before the mid-term elections November 6. There is hope that something can be worked out before the end of the year. If that does not happen, the bill will have to begin the legislative process from scratch in the new session of Congress in 2019.

Please contact your Congressman and Senators Casey and Toomey and let them know that we need to have a Farm Bill before the end of this year. Go to PLNA’s Legislative Action Center to make your voice heard!


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