As our lead DC lobbyist, Frost Brown Todd’s Daniel Cameron, reported last week, a compromise deal between House and Senate leadership on the 2018 Farm Bill could be reached as early as today.
Of course, even if the deal is consummated, there are still a few more steps before the bill becomes a law. Here’s a refresher from our friends at Schoolhouse Rock:
Saturday morning cartoons do not generally delve into the nuances of conference committee deliberations. So here’s a quick primer:
- The House and Senate each passed their own versions of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Senate version includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Hemp Farming Act, which would permanently legalize hemp and popular hemp-derived products like cannabidiol (CBD). The House version was silent on hemp.
- For the past few months, a House/Senate conference committee has been meeting to resolve the differences between the two bills. A key issue in debate is whether to increase work requirements on the collection of food stamps.
- In an unprecedented move, Leader McConnell appointed himself to serve on the conference committee. In that role, he publicly guaranteed that the final Farm Bill would include his hemp provisions.
- The top leadership (the “Big Four”) of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees – Senate Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senate Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), House Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and House Ranking Member Colin Peterson (D-MN) — have been meeting regularly behind closed doors to iron out differences. Chairman Roberts announced last week that he thought a deal might be reached today.
- Once the deal is reached, it must be brought to the full House/Senate Conference Committee for a vote. Passage is very likely because the Big Four will have consulted deeply with their colleagues before reaching a compromise.
- After the conference committee adds its stamp of approval, the consensus Farm Bill will go to the floors of the House and Senate for their votes.
- After the House and Senate pass the bill, it goes to President Trump’s desk for his signature
As you can tell, there are still a lot of steps before our little (Farm) Bill becomes a Law. We need your help:
- If you haven’t yet, sign up here to be a Hemp Supporter. Encourage all of your friends to do the same. It’s free and will keep you up to date on all of the latest developments.
- If you haven’t yet, use our portal to urge your Members of Congress to support a Farm Bill that includes the Hemp Farming Act. Please encourage your friends, colleagues, customers and social media contacts to do the same. Every vote counts: