Next Week on the Hill: Farm Bill Hits House Floor; Discharge Petition Rumors Swirl

No votes are scheduled in either the House or today, but both chambers are due to return to action on Monday. 

For the House, the week is set to focus on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), more colloquially known as the farm bill. The bill reauthorizes a number of agricultural programs designed to benefit the nation's farmers, but also sets policy for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the primary federal food stamps program. Per the provisions of the current House proposal, that latter program would see a significant revamp that would tighten work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries, which Republicans say could help individuals be lifted out of the welfare system. Democrats, on the other hand, have said that the bill as written would be little more than a messaging exercise as the partisan SNAP provisions would stand little chance of clearing the Senate. 

The Senate is due to continue its slog through federal judicial confirmations next week. Two final confirmation votes are expected Monday, namely on the nominations of Michael Scudder and Amy St. Eve to join the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

One final item to watch will be the ongoing drama around a possible discharge petition being organized by a group of moderate House Republicans to force a series of immigration proposals to the House floor. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has tried to play down that possibility, saying yesterday that "going down a path and having some kind of a spectacle on the floor that just results in a veto doesn’t solve the problem." It's unclear whether the Speaker’s comments will be enough to dissuade remaining Republican moderates who have yet to sign the petition. Only seven more Republican signatures are needed to trigger the “Queen of the Hill” process, assuming that all Democrats support the effort.