Collins: Farm bill to get a revote in July
ALBION — Amid a far-ranging conversation with Orleans County officials, Rep. Chris Collins detailed plans for a halved-version of the previously voted-down farm bill to be passed by the House of Representatives this month.
According to Collins, the modified bill would split farm-specific legislation from legislation changing the funding level for federal nutrition aid to low-income families and individuals. Collins told 25 attendees of a Coffee with Chris event at Tillman’s Village Inn Saturday that he and a majority of House members would support the farm-only bill, which contains reforms to crop insurance and continuations of agricultural assistance programs.
“We will, I promise, pass a Farm Bill by August,” said Collins, who echoed his optimism at an event later Saturday in Ridgeway.
Collins, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, was one of 195 representatives to vote for the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act June 20.
“It was a disaster,” he said of the vote’s failure, brought on by a coalition of dissenting conservatives and liberals. Even with the removal of changes to SNAP assistance, which were too heavy for many Democrats and not deep enough for tea partiers, Collins expects the revised farm bill to need bipartisan support to pass.
There are consequences to the split, Collins warned. The leftover food stamp provisions, which in the House are tied to income and asset tests, wouldn’t pass a vote of the house. As a result, the existing SNAP funding levels would remain in effect.
“It will continue on autopilot,” Collins said.
Collins said a similar plan may be pursued for the House’s immigration bill, with farm worker policies passed separately. The fate of the full bill is far less certain.
“The full immigration bill will not be offered in the House,” Collins said, citing a united front against a proposed pathway to citizenship for current undocumented residents. “We’re (the Republican caucus) in agreement with our far right — our borders need to be secured.”