Arrington: House, Senate lawmakers strike deal on 2018 Farm Bill

Arrington: House, Senate lawmakers strike deal on 2018 Farm Bill

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Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock) announced an "agreement in principle" on the 2018 Farm Bill Thursday afternoon. He said he's disappointed only "modest reforms" made it into a conference committee agreement on the legislation, but said the bill will be "tremendously helpful" for farmers, ranchers, and rural America.

Nine senators -- including majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) -- and 47 representatives -- including Rep. Arrington -- have been trying to hammer out differences in the two chambers' versions of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018; the biggest roadblock being adding work requirements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

House lawmakers added the requirements, which Rep. Arrington has consistently called a hand up out of poverty for beneficiaries; it barely passed in June with a two-vote margin. The Senate did not add work requirement adjustments to SNAP, and that proposal passed a week later with a 30-vote margin.

In his announcement of the agreement, Rep. Arrington said he's "deeply disappointed that the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate made little effort to improve one of the largest welfare programs in the country, which, in its current form, has trapped millions of Americans in a cycle of government dependence."

He said it was imperative lawmakers finished the deal to provide producers with "economic certainty they so desperately need," and so Republicans don't have to start over in the next Congress with a Democratic majority -- specifically, a "Pelosi-led House."

Arrington said he anticipates the conference report to pass both chambers before the end of the year.

Today Congressman Jodey Arrington released the following statement once an agreement in principle had been made on the 2018 Farm Bill.

“I am pleased that we’ve reached a bipartisan agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill,”Arrington said. “This legislation will be tremendously helpful for our farmers, ranchers, and rural America because it significantly strengthens the agriculture safety net, makes important investments in rural infrastructure, and improves other aspects of the Farm Bill.

 “Unfortunately, only modest reforms were made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as Food Stamps. I am deeply disappointed that the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate made little effort to improve one of the largest welfare programs in the country, which, in its current form, has trapped millions of Americans in a cycle of government dependence.

 "Even so, it was imperative we closed the deal in order to provide our producers with the economic certainty they so desperately need and so we don’t have to start over in the 116th Congress with Democrats writing the Farm Bill in a Pelosi-led House. I expect the conference report to pass both the conference committee and House and Senate chambers within the next few weeks.”

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