North Dakota lawmakers see wins in $867 billion Farm Bill package

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Compromise on Capitol Hill as the new Farm Bill package makes its way through Congress. Both chambers worked together for months to come up with this massive $867 billion package. Getting it done before the new Congress is a massive win according to the North Dakota delegation.

“We really worked to take the best provisions out of both the House and Senate bills and put them together,” said Senator John Hoeven (R-ND).

Hoeven says the Senate passing the package in an 87-13 vote Tuesday shows the bill’s popularity. As the House and Senate smashed their respective versions into one big package, Hoeven says differing ideas made it stronger. For instance, Hoeven says the House had a better idea on Price Loss Coverage and the Senate Agriculture Risk Coverage was better. They planted each in the final text.

“Every American benefits from a good Farm Bill, with the highest quality lowest cost food supply,” said Hoeven.

A big point of contention was the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Package (SNAP) which helps feed needy families. House Republicans wanted stricter work requirements for those using the program, but Hoeven says such rules would never pass in the Senate. So the chambers are calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to crack down, enforcing the current work requirements and not granting as many waivers to those who ask. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) says he is satisfied with the final agreement on this title.

“Our economy’s been booming in recent years. We have more job openings than we have people looking for work. There’s more opportunity to take advantage of the stricter work requirements,” said Cramer.

The delegation says their focus now turns to trade agreements, making sure their farmers have buyers for their products. They say they’d like a deal between the Trump administration and China to come soon.

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