Farm Bill deal reached without food stamp work requirement expansion
Congress has reached a compromise deal on a new Farm Bill to set agriculture policy for five years, but it won't expand work requirements for food stamps, which had been a priority of U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham of Louisiana and President Donald Trump.
The Senate passed the bill Tuesday on an 87-13 vote, although Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy was a no, criticizing the "missed opportunity to reform" the food stamp program. The House will likely vote Wednesday.
But Abraham, R-Alto, whose family farms in northeastern Louisiana, said the legislation "is a good bill that gives our farmers and ranchers the security they need.
Abraham is the state's only member of the House Agriculture Committee and was a member of the conference committee that crafted the final version.
"It preserves crop insurance and provides more flexibility for farmers moving forward," said Abraham, who announced last week he will run for governor in 2018.
Abraham said one of the most important improvements in the new Farm Bill is a provision to extend eligibility for crop subsidies and other programs to nephews, nieces and cousins of a farmer.
House Republicans like Abraham were willing to sign off on the compromise bill to avoid it being moved to the new Congress next month where Democrats will take over the majority.
"There's no way we could let Nancy Pelosi write the next Farm Bill," Abraham.
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