House votes down 2018 Farm Bill

By Erin Voegele | May 18, 2018

On May 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 198 to 213 to defeat the 2018 Farm Bill, officially titled the Agriculture or Nutrition Act of 2018, or H.R. 2. All 198 votes in favor of passing the legislation were made by republicans, with 30 republicans and 183 democrats voting against the bill. An addition seven republicans and 10 democrats did not vote on the legislation. Following the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan moved to reconsider the bill.

One day prior to the vote, members of the House defeated a proposed amendment by a vote of 75 to 340 that would have repealed the Farm Bill’s Energy Title. The amendment, H.Amdt. 619, was offered by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. While 74 republicans and one democrat voted in favor of the amendment, 154 republicans and 186 democrats voted against it. An additional six republicans and six democrats did not vote on the amendment.

The Energy Title includes a variety of programs that benefit bioenergy and biofuel producers, including the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; the Repowering Assistance Program; the Rural Energy for America Program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

The Agriculture Energy Coalition released a statement May 17 applauding the members of Congress who voted against the amendment.

“The House of Representatives’ overwhelming vote shows that there is strong, bipartisan support for the energy title programs,” said Lloyd Ritter, director of the AgEC. “These programs support more than 1.5 million U.S. workers who manufacture biobased products and help rural America adopt new technologies for renewable energy economic opportunities. The final farm bill must include an Energy Title, with strong mandatory funding and necessary updates for the vital programs.

“The Coalition thanks Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Kristi Noem, R-S.D., for speaking in favor of these programs that build rural infrastructure.”