ACTION ALERT: Farm Bill Outlook and How to Contact Congress

Following rejection of the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill by the full House on a 198-213 vote last Friday, leadership decided not to return to the legislation until June 22.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) announced on Monday that the House will first vote on an immigration bill sponsored by Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), a condition that some members of the conservative Freedom Caucus cited as a condition before they would consider voting for a farm bill. It’s uncertain if or how the outcome of any votes on immigration legislation will impact the timing and prospects of the farm bill in the House.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) and other farm organizations now turn their attention to the Senate Agriculture Committee, where Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) has indicated that he and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will introduce a bipartisan bill.

If that legislation passes in Committee and attracts a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 votes on the Senate floor, the Senate will be in position to pressure the House to act before the Fourth of July recess, so that differences between their respective bills can be worked out in conference during July.

ASA strongly supports completing a new five-year farm bill before the Agricultural Act of 2014 expires at the end of September, to give farmers longer-term certainty during this period of continued low crop prices and farm income and increased volatility in export markets due to heightened trade tensions.

TAKE ACTION:

Going forward, it is vital that farmers stress to their Members of Congress the importance of enacting a new farm bill this year. They need to hear from folks “back home” that this is a top priority.

ASA urges board members and state affiliates to raise getting the farm bill done this year in meetings and calls with your Members of Congress, and through the Soy Action Center, during the upcoming Memorial Day recess and as the legislative process moves forward in June.

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