WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Partisan bickering is jeopardizing the well-being of the poorest Tennesseans and the state’s farms.
Every five years, Congress re-writes the Farm Bill – which funds food stamps and provides billions in agricultural subsidies. Lawmakers only have a couple of weeks left to sign off on a new version before all that assistance expires.
It does appear the House and Senate are closing in on an agreement, reaching an agreement in principle.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) said while he would have liked to see added work requirements for food stamps, he’s glad a deal will get done. "Agriculture is so important across our great state and we want to make sure that our farmers are protected," he said. "So the absence of a Farm Bill would hurt Tennessee agriculture," he added, "that’s why I’ve supported a Farm Bill, and that’s why I probably will vote for the final version."
Along with the issue of food assistance – disagreement over how best to prevent forest fires presented a major sticking point in reaching a deal. A republican proposal to make it easier for states to thin forests is not included in the tentative agreement. Fleischmann said that may be considered separately.
Congress likely only has enough time to pass one more major piece of legislation before the clock runs out this year. And, it’s a big one: the budget. The big sticking point at the moment, is President Donald Trump’s push to expand the wall along the Mexican border.