Today on the Hill: Agriculture Leaders Release Highly Anticipated Farm Bill Text

December 11, 2018

House and Senate Agriculture negotiators have released the text (summary) for the final version of the Farm Bill, putting lawmakers on track to pass the five-year legislation this week. The legislation omits conservative-backed work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients — a move that will likely increase support among Democrats in both chambers. Despite President Trump’s adamant support for work requirement language, lawmakers expect the president to sign the bill and potentially pursue the measures through the federal rulemaking process.

Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has reintroduced the year-end tax package in hopes of improving the bill’s legislative outlook for the remainder of the 115th Congress. While provisions that would retroactively renew expired “tax extenders” and expand the deduction for start-up businesses have been removed, the bill retains measures that would provide tax relief for disaster victims, promote incentives for retirement savings, and make technical fixes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The revamped tax package also includes a host of key health care provisions including: (1) a five-year delay of the medical device tax (until Dec. 31, 2024); (2) a two-year delay for the health insurance tax (until Dec. 31, 2021); and (3) a one-year delay for the “Cadillac” tax (until Dec. 31, 2022). The addition of these health care provisions — coupled with the Johnson Amendment repeal as well as the subtraction of controversial “tax extenders” language — could make the bill palatable enough for lawmakers who initially threw cold water on the bill’s lame-duck prospects. 

On the floor, House lawmakers have teed up 14 bills under suspension of the rules for consideration today. The Senate will hold a final roll call vote on the nomination of Justin Muzinich to be Deputy Secretary of Treasury.