In an earlier post, we noted that the House Rules Committee was scheduled to meet this evening to consider the path forward for a farm bill extension and disaster assistance package that would address the stress on farmers, ranchers, and specialty crop producers from the recent drought. Just prior to convening the Committee meeting, however, House Republican leaders determined that they did not have the votes to pass this controversial package on the floor. It’s clear that the diverse array of farm, rural, and conservation stakeholders, including many of you in the Healthy Farms, Healthy People community, who demonstrated significant concern (or even outright opposition) to this extension package, made a significant impact on ensuring the House leadership go back to the drawing board. At this time, the House will not pursue a farm bill extension and will instead put forward a standalone disaster assistance package that they intend to advance under suspension of the rules on Thursday. The disaster assistance package, including what offsets are used to pay for it, are still pending. Meanwhile, the farm bill, set to expire on September 30, will still need to be dealt with in some manner when members return from August district and state work periods.
Stay tuned for more details on the disaster package, offsets, and the road ahead.