Today on the Hill: Senate Begins Farm Bill Debate; House to Consider CFIUS, Fisheries Bill

The Senate approved the Energy-Water minibus yesterday by a wide 86-5 margin, clearing the path for the upper chamber to focus on its version of the farm bill before next week’s Independence Day recess. A cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the farm bill passed last night 89-3 as the upper chamber seems to be taking a less contentious approach to passing the nutrition and agriculture package than their counterparts in the House. The Senate’s version would maintain the structure of the 2014 farm law while preserving agricultural programs in need of reauthorization and legalizing the production of industrial hemp – a priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The lack of the House’s controversial provisions — most notably work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — means that consideration in the Senate should be relatively straightforward, although it remains to be seen how the two chambers plan on reconciling their proposed packages.

The House’s floor schedule today features votes on two suspension bills and consideration of a bill to change fishery policy. Among the two suspension bills is a long-negotiated measure (H.R. 5841)  that would bolster the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to better screen against risks to national security posed by foreign investment projects. Meanwhile, consideration of the fishery bill (H.R. 2083) is expected to be along party lines as the two sides disagree on whether sea lions near the Columbia River should be culled in order to protect the native salmon population.

Finally, voters in seven states — Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, South Carolina, and Mississippi — will head to the polls today as the country continues to inch toward November’s midterm elections. President Trump appeared in South Carolina yesterday in an effort to boost Governor Henry McMaster over businessman John Warren in the Palmetto State’s gubernatorial runoff race. The strength of President Trump’s endorsement will also be tested in New York, where incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) is set to square off against former Rep. Michael Grimm — who spent time in federal prison for a felony tax evasion charge. Additionally, Republican voters in Utah are expected to nominate former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney as a candidate to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).