Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE1) says the failure to pass a Farm Bill Friday means lawmakers have another chance to produce a better bill.
The chamber failed to approve the bill Friday on a 198-213 vote after all Democrats and a faction of Republicans withheld support.
Fortenberry says his GOP colleagues withheld support because of immigration.
“The Farm Bill is separate from immigration, and I think it ought to remain separate from any immigration considerations,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN in Lincoln. “They were trying to leverage their vote for a Farm Bill to try to enhance their perspective on an immigration proposal.”
Democrats opposed the bill because it contained stricter requirements for SNAP – or food stamp – recipients.
Fortenberry says the measure redirected some SNAP funding to get recipients back to work.
“I think it’s a reasonable thing to do, while ensuring that you’re protecting the most vulnerable Americans,” he explains, “but ensuring also that people have access to good and meaningful work, and have a transition process, is essential to the program itself.”
There is a motion to reconsider the failed bill, but Fortenberry says he is not sure when that will happen.
The U.S. Senate is still working on its version of the Farm Bill.