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House Sends Compromise Farm Bill to Trump’s Desk

Wheat field in Dixon, Ill. (Jim Young/Reuters)

The House passed the final version of the farm bill on Wednesday, sending it to President Trump’s desk.

The $867 billion bill passed overwhelmingly in a 369 to 47 vote. The Senate on Tuesday passed it 87 to 13. Trump is expected to sign the legislation.

The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies for farmers as well as legalizing industrial hemp production and providing $300 million to fight animal disease.

U.S. farmers have been negatively affected recently by Trump’s tariffs with several countries, which the bill attempts to combat by providing $500 million to help farmers find new international markets for their products.

A sticking point during the eight-month fight over the bill was a proposed cracking down on the $70 billion food stamps program, which takes up over 75 percent of farm bill funding. Republicans were unable to keep language in the bill that would have expanded work requirements for food stamps and disqualified 1.5 million of the close to 40 million recipients. The GOP’s proposed $1 billion for job training programs was also shot down. The House originally passed the reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but they did not make it out of the Senate. Democrats argued that the stricter work requirements would burden low-income people who couldn’t meet them.

“The passage of the 2019 Farm Bill is good news because it provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, who need the dependability and certainty this legislation affords,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement after the House approved the law.

All Senate Democrats supported the law, while Senator Chuck Grassley and eight other Republicans opposed it.

“I’ve been trying to make sure the people who get the subsidies are real farmers,” Grassley said before the Senate vote. “I’ve been trying for three years, and it gets worse and worse and worse.”

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