WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- As American farmers and ranchers face a rocky outlook with ongoing trade negotiations, lawmakers in Washington say a new bill will lay the groundwork for a brighter future. Our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin caught up with Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn on Capitol Hill to discuss the new farm bill.
The goal of the new five-year farm bill is to solidify support for American farmers and food programs across the country. As trade talks heat up with China, Cornyn says moving the bill forward will provide Texans with much-needed stability.
"Many of our farmers and ranchers are - they need some predictability. They need to know what the future holds when it comes to crop insurance, and so I'm glad we were able to come together and figure this out," said Cornyn.
After passing the House and Senate this week, the farm bill is on its way to President Donald Trump's desk.
The bi-partisan $867 billion dollar legislation approves subsidies for farmers, legalizes industrial hemp, and more funding for farmers markets. Cornyn says it's essential the farm bill got passed so funds did not run out on critical programs for farmers.
During the bill-writing process, lawmakers went back and forth over changes to stricter work requirements for food stamps. Most of that left off the table this go around.
"No bill is ever perfect, and I know there was a lot of discussion over work requirements or community service or training requirements which I think are a good idea but as they pointed out: none of that matters much if we can't get a farm bill done. So I'm pleased with what we ended up with," said Cornyn.
Senator Cornyn - who holds a top leadership role in the Senate GOP - says a big focus in the new year will be on trade. He is optimistic that a divided Congress can move forward with the President's newly-negotiated trade deal with Mexico and Canada.