Farmers Suffering Setbacks Under GOP Control, Republican Says

(Bloomberg) -- A freshman Republican from one of the nation’s deepest-red districts said the rejection of House farm legislation on Friday is the latest setback for agriculture under GOP leadership.

"It certainly will leave a lot of ag producers scratching their heads about our Republican majority and moving these important pieces of legislation through the House,” said Jodey Arrington, elected in 2016 to represent a swath of West Texas including Lubbock and Abilene.

Many of farmers’ concerns -- including uncertainty over possible revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement, a labor shortage related to declining immigration and now the failure of a farm bill -- stem from actions taken by a Republican White House and Congress, he said.

“It’s unfortunate because if you come from ag country, times have been really tough for years, since 2014, so this is not good for the United States ag economy,” he said.

The farm bill, a five-year reauthorization of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs including farmer subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps, failed in the House of Representatives by a 197-213 vote, as conservatives wanted to tie the legislation to a separate immigration bill and moderate Republicans and all Democrats objected to its food-stamp provisions. GOP leaders plan to bring the measure up again, possibly as early as next week.

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