The farm bill is a near trillion dollar, 600-plus page legislative package that governs all aspects of the American food and agriculture system and comes up for debate only once every five or so years. With the current farm bill expiring at the end of September, the farm bill reauthorization process has officially kicked off here in the nation’s capital, and the House is the first out the gate.
On Wednesday, April 18, the House Agriculture Committee “marked-up” and passed Chairman Mike Conaway’s (R-TX) draft farm bill by a vote of 26 to 20 – all Republicans voted to support and all Democrats voted to oppose the bill. And while the Committee was successful in passing its version of the farm bill (albeit on a strict party line vote), there was no real markup nor substantial debate over the policies put forth in the draft bill. The draft bill came out just days before the scheduled markup, it did not go through regular order through markup in the various subcommittees and then on to the full committee, and it went through the full committee in the shortest amount of time ever for a farm bill — hardly a stellar case of democracy in action.
Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, April 20, 2018