The House Agriculture Committee has long prided itself on bipartisanship, but partisan lines were sharply drawn as the panel approved a Republican-drawn farm bill Wednesday on a 26-20, party line vote.
"This is a flawed bill. This is the fault of a bad and non-transparent process." -- House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN)
“"Mr. Chairman, this is a flawed bill,” Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) said in his opening salvo of the hearing in comments directed at Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) “This is the fault of a bad and non-transparent process. When I was chairman, we marked the bill up in subcommittee. We didn't do that this time. I oppose it and I urge my colleagues on my committee to oppose it as well."
Democratic dissent on the farm bill proposal centers on work requirements for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Peterson told AgriTalk Radio earlier this week that he would offer no amendments to the bill and would simply oppose the entire bill.
Republicans on the committee moved a package of 15 amendments to the farm bill during the hearing on topics ranging from crop insurance to biotechnology to broadband. The amendments include a provision put forward by Rodney Davis (R-IL) that would not allow producers to enroll in both the Agriculture Risk Coverage program and the Margin Protection Plan.
The farm bill now moves to the full House which is expected to vote on the measure next month. The Senate Agriculture Committee has not yet introduced their version of a farm bill for consideration.