By Kate Hansen, former staff member
This blog is part of our “Farm Bill Bulletin” series, which provides intermittent updates on the development and status of our nation’s next farm bill.
August marks a unique point in farm bill negotiations. The farm bill is being drafted now, and we could see Congress take action soon. This means we may need your help in the near future.
Every summer, members of Congress spend a month in their home states during what is known as August recess. This year, in the weeks leading up to recess, members introduced a flurry of marker bills intended for the final farm bill. With many staff still in Washington, D.C., marker bills continue to be released this month.
The Senate will reconvene on Sept. 5, followed by the House on Sept. 12. Around that time, it is possible we will see a farm bill draft released by one or both chambers. When we see a draft, the clock begins ticking before it is “marked up” by its agriculture committee.
This will be a critical time for you to get involved. We will ask you to join us to relay feedback to committee members, who during mark-up can make amendments to the draft. This could be a quick process, and we urge you to keep an eye out for our calls to action via email.
We will only know what to respond to when a draft is released. We may need to defend good elements of the draft, or advocate against bad ones.
Once a draft is passed by its agriculture committee, it will be brought to the entire chamber for consideration and vote. This will also be an important time to engage.
In these proceedings, the House and Senate will be working with their own versions of the farm bill. The next step is for leaders to negotiate a version that satisfies both chambers. That version will need to be approved by a vote of both the House and Senate, and finally receive the president’s signature.
This is likely to be a long process peppered with quick-turnaround, important needs for advocacy. As rural residents, we thank you for engaging and staying involved. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.