Farm Bill conferees selected from the House and Senate will meet for the first time Wednesday, September 5, in hopes of reaching common ground on the 2018 legislation and ironing out the differences between their respective versions of the legislation.
Top lawmakers on the committee did meet last week, ahead of the first formal meeting. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts told Politico that he, Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, House Ag Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and ranking member Collin Peterson, made real progress during that meeting, but did not get into specifics. But much of the work ahead of Wednesday’s formal meeting has been at the staff level. The committee faces the task of merging the two versions of the bills, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirements.
Congress returns this week with 16 days in-session scheduled for the Senate and 11 in-session days in the House for the month of September. That means differences in the farm bill must be ironed out quickly to pass the bill before the current one expires at the end of the month.