December 15, 2019

231 to 191: House Passes Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

Dan Morgan, writing in today’s Washington Post, reported that, “The House yesterday passed a far-reaching new farm bill that preserves the existing system of subsidies for commercial farmers and adds billions of dollars for conservation, nutrition and new agricultural sectors.

“Passage of the 741-page bill by a vote of 231 to 191, after partisan battling unusual for farm legislation, was a major achievement for the new Democratic leadership.

“With most Republicans opposing the five-year bill over a tax issue, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hammered out a compromise that held together a shaky majority of Democratic farm-state lawmakers committed to the entrenched farm subsidy system, together with urban liberals and reformers seeking sweeping changes.”

After detailing some of the specifics of the legislation, Mr. Morgan noted that, “Nonetheless, major hurdles remain before the massive legislation becomes law.”

The Post article stated that, “Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (Va.), the ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, accused Democrats of ‘poisoning the well’ by adding the tax provision to what had been a bipartisan farm bill. Business lobbies, including the National Association of Manufacturers, warned that the action could discourage foreign investment and cost jobs.

“Democrats said the provision merely closes a loophole that allows a limited number of U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies to avoid taxes. Aides said it is aimed at companies headquartered in tax havens such as Bermuda, with which the United States has no tax treaty. Subsidiaries avoid a tax bite by funneling earnings through European countries that have reciprocal tax-reduction arrangements with the United States.”