GOP Congressman: Senate Democrats stopped negotiations allowing Farm Bill to expire

GOP Congressman: Senate Democrats stopped negotiations allowing Farm Bill to expire

ILLINOIS (IRN) — The federal Farm Bill expired at midnight. Illinois’ only representative in the negotiations says Senate Democrats are to blame for not getting a new one to the President Donald Trump’s desk.

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is part of the conference committee tasked with negotiating a final Farm Bill to pass both chambers and send to the president. The previous one expired at midnight Sunday. This leaves a number of programs without funding.

“Many compromises were rejected by Sen. [Debbie] Stabenow and many of the Democrats in the Senate,” he said. “There were disagreements over regulatory reform that they couldn’t come to a compromise on.”

The U.S. House passed a new Farm Bill that included tougher work requirements for recipients of SNAP benefits, otherwise known as food stamps. Trump supports the tougher work requirements. The Senate’s version of the bill did not include the work requirements, and lawmakers from both chambers to date have been unable to come up with a compromise measure.

Stabenow, D-Michigan, is the ranking Democratic senator on their agriculture committee. She wasn’t available to respond to Davis’ comments.

Stabenow offered a statement in conjunction with the other ranking committee members Wednesday, saying “Each of us is still at the negotiating table, and we remain committed to working together on a Farm Bill. Our conversations are productive, and progress toward an agreement is taking shape. We are going to get this right.”

Meanwhile, Davis said they are working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure farm programs still operate.

“They’re still going to be acting as is. They won’t be cut off,” he said.

The SNAP program and crop insurance will reportedly not be affected by a prolonged time without a Farm Bill, according to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“USDA will continue to implement provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill within the limits of the law and work with the Congress, providing technical assistance as needed, until a new bill is passed,” he said Friday.

Other smaller programs dealing with foreign market development and organic farming programs will be at risk unless a stopgap can be found.