Almost the entire Missouri delegation to the U.S. House voted in favor of the Farm Bill that passed the chamber Wednesday with resounding bipartisan support.
Only Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who was unable to make the final vote due to the passing of her father back home in Show-Me State, failed to endorse the measure.
Most Missouri House members found something to like in the $867 billion Farm Bill, although several of the Republicans supported a provision not included in the final package that would’ve increased work requirements for SNAP (food stamp) recipients.
It lasts over five years until 2023, reauthorizing $400 billion in U.S. agricultural subsidies and conservation programs. The bill also legalizes industrial hemp by including the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which officially removes industrial hemp from the federal list of Schedule I controlled substances.
Although not casting a ballot, Hartzler still issued a statement noting it included language she supported to promote the expansion of rural broadband. She also supported a small change to SNAP which establishes an interstate data system that blocks recipients from receiving benefits in multiple states.
Hartzler said the bill had shortcomings, but included her priorities and was a necessary step to help farmers.
“While we did not achieve all that we wanted in the final version of the bill, this legislation is a positive step for farmers, ranchers, consumers, and rural America,” said Hartzler. “I am pleased to see many of my priorities reflected in the legislation, and I applaud Congress for acting so quickly to secure a comprehensive Farm Bill for those facing difficult times in farm country.”
In a moment of drama, the bill narrowly advanced to a floor after language was added blocking a vote for the rest of the year on limiting U.S. involvement in Yemen. The 206-203 vote to include the provision is a temporary win for President Donald Trump, who supports Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and refuses to blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of U.S. resident and writer Jamal Khashoggi.
With Hartzler absent, five of the six Missouri Republicans in the House voted in favor of the provision. Both Democrats, William Lacy Clay, and Emanuel Cleaver voted against it.
Cleaver told Missourinet he’s concerned the conflict jeopardizes millions of Yemeni lives. He hopes the bill’s language preserving support for Saudi Arabia is dropped.
“Our only hope, and I think it’s going to happen, is that the more sensible United States Senate will take it out and we can move on, “said Cleaver.
But the 5th District Congressman, who represents Kansas City as well as farmers in western Missouri, was happy with the final product.
“We passed a very, very good farm bill that satisfies the farm advocacy groups as well as those who represent urban areas, and I happen to be one of the few people who represent both,” Cleaver said.
Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer praised efforts to come together and produce a final bill that’ll help farmers in outstate Missouri.
“After months of bipartisan negotiations between the House and Senate, the Farm Bill is finally headed to the President’s desk,” said Luetkemeyer. “This package will provide the certainty Missouri farmers deserve while investing in the future of our rural communities. I’m proud to support this legislation.”
GOP Congressman Sam Graves, whose 6th District stretches border to border across the rural northern part of the state, said the measure provides the tools needed for farmers to be productive.
“Agriculture is the backbone of North Missouri’s economy. As a sixth-generation family farmer, I cannot stress enough the importance of today’s passage, Graves said. “The 2018 Farm Bill maintains and strengthens the farm safety net to provide certainty to producers, and brings stability back to our agricultural community, giving them what they need to continue to provide the safest and most affordable food to America and across the world.”
Republican Jason Smith, who represents a wide swath of southern Missouri, Ann Wagner, whose district is largely in the suburban St. Louis area and Billy Long, who represents the southwest portion of Missouri, also voted for the Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, as did St. Louis-based Democrat William Lacy Clay.
Representative Cleaver is happy the measure will go to President Trump without the increased work requirement for SNAP recipients his Republican colleagues in the House tried to include.
“There are all kinds of misconceptions about SNAP recipients that they’re people who don’t work or don’t want to work and so forth, ” said Cleaver. “When you look at the real statistics, it’s glaringly (the) opposite of that.”
The final vote on the Farm Bill in the House was 369-47.
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