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Farm Bill Flux: Moderate Republicans Not Lining Up to Support
Freedom Caucus senses opportunity to leverage influence

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., is among several moderate Republicans opposed or leaning to opposition to the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several moderate House Republicans are firmly opposed to the farm bill or considering voting against it, providing leverage to conservatives who are trying to make their support contingent on securing a separate vote on an immigration bill.

New Jersey Reps. Frank LoBiondo, Christopher Smith, Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen said they are “no” or leaning “no” on the farm bill.

Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration
Work requirements for SNAP among contentious topics on tap

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, will continue to make his case for the GOP-drafted farm bill this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week.

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the panel has scheduled a general discussion from House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas and ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the five-year farm bill, which would set policy for nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and other programs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

All the Voter ID Laws in May Primary States, Explained
Primary season ramps up, state requirement vary to cast ballot

Voting signs are posted at the early voting polls at One Judiciary Square in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More states in recent years enacted voter ID laws requiring people to provide some form of proof that they are who they say they are before casting a ballot. Courts across the nation continue to judge, while Republicans say these laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud and Democrats argue the laws create barriers to voting and disenfranchise minority voters.

Either way, if you plan to vote this May, here’s what you need to bring:

Podcast: GOP Farm Bill Targets Food Stamps, Heads for House Vote
CQ Budget, Episode 57

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, at podium, aims to have a House vote on the GOP-written farm bill in early May . Flanking him, from left, Reps. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., James R. Comer, R-Ky., Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Ralph Abraham, R-La., Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, and Rick W. Allen, R-Ga.  (Ellyn Ferguson/CQ Roll Call)

Farm Bill Ties Food Stamps to Work, Adjusts Farm Aid
Democrats worry work mandate is designed to push people out of program

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, at podium, introduces the farm bill at a news conference on Thursday. Flanking him, from left, Reps. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., James R. Comer, R-Ky., Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Ralph Abraham, R-La., Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, and Rick W. Allen, R-Ga. (Ellyn Ferguson/CQ Roll Call)

The House Agriculture Committee released its 2018 farm bill Thursday with proposals to reshape the nation’s largest domestic food aid program, consolidate conservation efforts and tweak farm aid.

The bill arrives amid controversy over its focus on shifting funding within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, into work and training programs.

Pelosi Urges Democrats to Oppose Farm Bill, Balanced Budget Amendment, Rescissions
Minority leader pens Dear Colleague letter on 'what challenges lie ahead'

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is urging her colleagues to oppose the farm bill and a balanced budget amendment measure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed her Democratic colleagues back from a two-week spring recess with a “Dear Colleague” letter urging them to oppose several upcoming pieces of legislation. 

Included in Pelosi’s list was the farm bill reauthorizing agriculture programs, which is typically a bipartisan measure. But Republicans this year have been pushing to add work requirements to food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. 

Paul Ryan’s Broad Strokes on Poverty
Speaker reiterates favored outline on workforce development

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been touting the Republican economic philosophy during a tour of Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Capping a visit to North Texas, Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday returned to a favored topic — federal anti-poverty programs — during a visit to Catholic Charities Fort Worth. 

Coming off his appearance Monday before Southwest Airlines employees to tout the Republican economic philosophy, particularly tax cuts, Ryan offered a broad vision for workforce development policies rather than an idea of what Congress could actually move on this year.

Democrats Put Farm Bill Talks on Hold
Minority party says it can’t negotiate until it sees text and other info

House Agriculture ranking Democrat Collin C. Peterson says his party is done talking about the farm bill until the majority Republicans start sharing information. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For those tracking the farm bill, the top question this week is whether the House Agriculture Committee chairman and ranking member can reopen talks that stalled last week, after Democrats balked at possible cuts to the food stamp program.

Rep. Collin C. Peterson, the top committee Democrat, said Thursday he would heed his colleagues’ request that he stop negotiations until Chairman K. Michael Conaway gives members the text of the proposed farm bill, along with Congressional Budget Office cost estimates and impact assessments.

Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

Among the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force is continuing incentives for recipients to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Candidate for Franks’ Seat Denies Receiving Topless Photos
Steve Montenegro faces scandal in race to replace disgraced Arizona congressman

Arizona congressional candidate Steve Montenegro calls a report that he received topless photos from a legislative staffer “tabloid trash.” (SteveMontenegro.com)

Republican congressional candidate Steve Montenegro, who is running to replace disgraced Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, is facing his own scandal a week before next Tuesday’s primary.

Montenegro, who resigned his state Senate seat to run for the House post, received topless photos from a legislative staffer, according to a series of text messages that were reviewed and reported by KPNX in Phoenix.