Rep. Welch: Farm Bill compromise is big deal for VT

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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.

Disagreements over food assistance festered for months, while disputes over how to better prevent forest fires only cropped up recently. But, the House and the Senate are finally close to compromise, reaching an agreement in principle.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) likes the package on the table – one that doesn’t add more work requirements for food assistance. "I’m very pleased that we’re going to be able pass this bill and provide some security to hungry children and really struggling dairy farmers and entrepreneurial farmers as well," he said.

Welch said Vermont dairy will breath the biggest sigh of relief when all parties sign on the dotted line, but could also use far more help from Congress.

The state's lone congressman also highlighted changes that plant the seed for a bigger industrial hemp industry in Vermont.

A final vote on a deal is expected in the House and Senate next week.

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.

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