House passage of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2), titled the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018,” fell short by a vote of 198-213 during floor debate on the measure held May 18, 2018. The bill failed to advance largely due to the leadership’s refusal to agree to the demands of a bloc of House Republicans seeking a separate vote on an unrelated package of immigration measures. Discussions in the House are now underway as the leadership tries to end the impasse and find a way to bring the Farm Bill to the floor for a second vote.
As reported previously, Title IX of the Farm Bill contains two provisions strongly supported by CPDA. First is language that would enact into law H.R. 1029, the “Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act,” which provides a long-term reauthorization of PRIA along with an increase in maintenance fees, an adjustment in registration service fees as well as product category/review times, and eliminates the existing constraint on spending maintenance fees without matching appropriation dollars as contained in current PRIA. H.R. 2 also includes language that would amend FIFRA and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (the Clean Water Act) to prohibit EPA or a state from requiring an additional permit under the Clean Water Act for a discharge of a pesticide from a point source into navigable waters of the United States. CPDA has engaged in extensive lobbying efforts in building a broad base of support for each of these legislative initiatives in the 115th Congress.
Most recently, CPDA joined with a broad cross-section of agricultural, non-agricultural, and public health interests in signing onto a May 8, 2018 letter to Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, thanking him for his leadership in authoring several key provisions in the Farm Bill that relate to the registration and use of pesticides. The signatories to the May 8th letter also thanked Chairman Conaway for his inclusion of other language in Title IX of the Farm Bill that would establish much-needed regulatory reforms by clarifying the role of state lead agencies in promulgating pesticide regulations and streamlining the pesticide review/approval process when considering implications to endangered species.
CPDA and the other signatories to the letter emphasized that the pesticide provisions contained in Title IX would “increase the global competitiveness of American agriculture, encourage much needed innovation, and reduce costs to American farmers and ranchers and other users of pesticides at a time when they can least afford it.”
As of this writing, it was not clear whether an agreement over immigration would be reached that would clear a path for reconsideration of the Farm Bill on the House floor. Meanwhile, work in the Senate is ongoing as the leadership in that chamber drafts its own version of the Farm Bill. CPDA will keep its membership apprised of further developments as they occur.