Senator Joni Ernst says there appears to be a breakthrough in negotiations on the Farm Bill.
“I am hopeful that the deal gets done by the end of the year,” Ernst told Radio Iowa. “I think we have reached an agreement in the conference committee, so that is really good news for our farmers and ranchers of Iowa.”
Ernst is the only Iowan on a conference committee that’s been struggling for weeks to reconcile House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. A provision championed by Iowa’s other Senator, Chuck Grassley, is not in the final deal. It would have imposed limits on farm subsidy payments to non-farmers. Republicans in the House had been pressing for new work requirements for food stamp recipients. That’s not in the final version either.
“That has been worked out between the House and the Senate and so I do believe that we will be able to move forward and get that bill on the floor of the Senate as soon as possible,” Ernst said.
Ernst indicated the Republican leader in the senate who decides which bills get debated has assured her a vote on the Farm Bill will happen in the Senate in December.
“So as we’re laying out the road map for the rest of 2018 — the ‘lame duck’ session — the Farm Bill has been included in that mix,” Ernst said. “I believe that we will get…this done. We will get it to the president and he will get it signed and reauthorized.”
The Farm Bill expired October 1. If congress fails to pass a replacement by December 31, 2018, the next congress would have to start at square one in drafting a bill and first pass it through committees in the House and Senate before votes could be taken in the full House and Senate.