Here’s a report from Daniel Cameron of Frost Brown Todd, the Roundtable’s lead DC lobbyist and the former Legal Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We will finish the farm bill before the end of the year,” according to Majority Leader McConnell after a meeting with President Trump yesterday to discuss lame-duck session priorities. This comes on the heels of him saying at an event in Kentucky last week that the hemp provisions “will be in there, I guarantee you that.”
Plus, there have been reassuring statements from the chairmen of the Senate and House Agriculture committees. Chairman Pat Roberts of the Senate is reported saying that he is hopeful that a deal will come together by Monday. While Chairman Conaway of the House is quoted as saying, “[t]here are a few things, but we’re darn close,” concerning progress on the bill.
The commentary from the chairmen and the Majority Leader are encouraging. Everyone appears to want to pass the bill before going home for the Holidays and the conclusion of the 115th Congress, and for good reason. Keep in mind that next year the makeup of the House membership will be different, with a Democrat majority and new chairs for the committees. This could complicate the farm bill process if it is not finalized this year.
To avoid complexity, the better outcome for the majority of the members in the House and Senate is to get it done by the end of December.
There are 12 days left on the legislative calendar, although that can be extended if necessary. Next week could be pivotal, given that Chairman Roberts has indicated a deal could be forthcoming on Monday.
As always, we will keep you posted with relevant information. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, keep the pressure on Congress: Let them know it’s high time to pass the 2018 Farm Bill with all of the hemp provisions of the Hemp Farming Act. Please use our portal at the link below.