The House’s Poison Pill Plan to Pass the Farm Bill

This Isn’t Democracy


In an effort to get his version of the 2018 Farm Bill passed through the House of Representatives, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway offered an unimaginable “poison pill” to House representatives: Only those who plan to vote for the Farm Bill can offer amendments. This shuts out any member who doesn’t promise to vote with the current majority. Regardless of which party is in the majority, such tactics should remain unacceptable.

We at RAFI believe this unimaginable request for loyalty truly jeopardizes decades of bipartisan work and rural and urban partnerships built around the Farm Bill. In a letter to House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, members of Congress state:

To completely shut out any member who won’t promise to vote with Republican leadership would be an extraordinary break with tradition by the Rules Committee, which historically has encouraged all members to bring their best ideas for consideration. Democrats may not even want to submit amendments to the Farm Bill because of the rigged, partisan process that has already taken place – which Chairman Conaway has brought further into the daylight with this outrageous plan – but it goes much deeper than Democratic amendments to one bill. Institutional matters such as this one affect both parties, and a policy to silence all voices of dissent will shut out Democrats and Republicans, and the millions of American citizens that they represent.

RAFI strongly supports a return to an open process to pass a strong Farm Bill that is fair and just for all Americans. Right now, the House version of the Bill as it stands is none of these. We believe in democracy and highly encourage members of Congress to give the Farm Bill its due diligence in the House, with all voices heard and represented. 

If you agree this is a bad move and demand a fair, democratic debate, we encourage you to contact your House representative today

Catch up on all things Farm Bill here.