Lawmakers expect President Donald Trump to sign the farm bill legislation Thursday even though it excludes Republican priorities Trump supported such as changes to food stamps.
Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan plan to be at the White House, though the former said Tuesday that he doesn’t have a time or any details.
The House adopted the House-Senate conference report by a lopsided vote of 369-47 last week, a day after the Senate had approved the legislation 87-13.
The planned signing comes a day before current stopgap government funding expires at midnight, which would impact USDA because its fiscal 2019 spending bill is among the remaining seven appropriations bills that Congress has not passed. USDA is responsible for implementing the farm bill.
The final five-year farm bill would set policies and reauthorize farm, conservation, nutrition, rural development, agricultural trade and other programs. The Congressional Budget Office says it would cost $428 billion for fiscal years 2019-2023 and $867 billion over a 10-year scoring window of fiscal 2019-2028.
The legislation would also remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which would legalize hemp production. The 2014 farm bill, which expired Sept. 30, allowed limited hemp production for research projects approved and overseen by state and tribal governments.
The final bill rejects House provisions that would have broadened Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work requirements, toughened eligibility criteria and changed the way monthly food aid benefits are calculated.
However, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said USDA will issue a proposed rule that would tighten the conditions under which states can use federal waivers to exempt single able-bodied adult recipients of SNAP with no dependents from work requirements. The rule could come as soon as this week.
The compromise legislation has generally gotten high marks from industry and advocacy groups for its handling of land conservation, organic agriculture research and education, trade promotion and other programs.
The bill is so wide-ranging that the Congressional Black Caucus cited provisions that would provide funding to establish research centers at three historically black land-grant colleges and universities, end a funding restriction on such educational institutions not applied to white land-grant colleges, and help black farmers document ownership of so-called heirs’ property that is often passed down without a will or any record.
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