Republican party infighting over immigration sank the proposed Farm Bill in the House.
The bill, which would provide financial assistance as well as insurance for farmers was voted down 213-198 on Friday, following optimism within the GOP. Representative Drew Ferguson spoke with News 3 about the potential of the bill he believed was on it’s way to passing.
“The current state of farmers is completely unacceptable,” Ferguson said. “Too many farmers are simply holding on. You’ve got almost a 50% drop in farm income in recent years.”
The bill would have provided easier access to land and capital, as well as aid for disasters that wipe our crops. The bill also focused on increasing agricultural exports through foreign trade, and increasing public health through foodborne illnesses.
Rep. Ferguson told News 3 the bill was important to rural communities because besides being the areas where most farms are found, the bill included funding for providing broadband services to rural areas of the country.
Changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were also in the proposed bill. The proposal included 20 hour per week minimum work requirement to be eligible for the program.
While the bill did not pass, Speaker Paul Ryan can bring the bill up for vote at a later date since he voted no on the bill. The current Farm Bill last until September.