Farm bill momentum continues
— CONSERVATIVE GROUPS LOSE IN HOUSE FARM BILL PASSAGE: The House’s very narrow passage of its version of the farm bill was a loss for many groups, including conservative organizations like Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity and the R Street Institute. In an interview with POLITICO Influence, Caroline Kitchens, federal affairs manager at the R Street Institute, attributed the House’s passage of the bill to “political dynamics and gamesmanship.” She noted that many Republicans viewed the bill as an opportunity to pass a small slice of welfare reform. In addition, she said even though Freedom Caucus members didn’t necessarily like the bill, “they decided that getting a vote on immigration was more of a priority.” Brent Gardner, chief government affairs officer at Americans for Prosperity, agreed that outside forces influenced the House’s passage of the bill. “The farm bill deserves to have its own day,” he said.
—Moving forward, the R Street Institute will push for an open amendment process on the Senate floor, Kitchens said. “We have a pretty well-organized coalition of conservative, taxpayer and environmental groups, so it’s a really broad coalition of people on the left and the right,” she said. “We’re hoping to get some reform in the Senate version of the bill.”