Congresswoman Cheri Bustos Appointed to Help Negotiate the Final Version of the Five-Year Farm Bill

Bustos will serve as one of the House Democrats who will hammer out the final details with their Senate Counterparts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) announced her appointment to the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee. The Conference Committee, made up of a select group of House and Senate members, will merge the House and Senate versions of the bill into a final version. After the conference completes its work, the final version of the Farm Bill will be voted on in both chambers of Congress before going to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“At this pivotal moment for our agricultural economy, I am honored to have the opportunity to negotiate a bipartisan Farm Bill that supports our family farmers, strengthens rural communities and puts food on the plates of families across our nation,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “While I was disappointed by the partisan Farm Bill that passed the House, we have a real chance at a fresh start. My hope is that, through this conference committee process, we can all come to the table and restore the historically bipartisan nature of the Farm Bill. Only by working together will we be able to develop a Farm Bill that provides our farmers with the support and certainty they need as they work through a challenging agricultural economy that’s only getting tougher because of President Trump’s trade war. Northwest and Central Illinois have some of the hardest working farmers who are responsible for feeding not only our country, but the world, and I am proud to fight for them in this effort.”

In June, the Senate passed a version of the Farm Bill which includes language from four bipartisan bills Bustos helped introduce to bolster small towns and rural communities across America. These provisions include The Farmers of Tomorrow Act, which modifies existing USDA farm ownership loans to make it easier for young farmers and veterans to afford farmland. As a longtime advocate for rural health, Congresswoman Bustos was also able to get The Addiction Recovery for Rural Communities Act included in the versions passed by the House and Senate; this legislation would help rural America combat the opioid epidemic. Furthermore, Bustos’ Rural Health Liaison Act was incorporated into the Senate’s version, which creates a designated liaison at the USDA to improve healthcare in small towns and rural communities.

Bustos also helped lead The Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Act, which seeks to close the digital divide by awarding grants for rural broadband projects. This language reflects Bustos efforts to bring high speed internet to the 23 million rural Americans without service through the Universal High-Speed Internet Better Deal proposal. Similar proposals were also included in the House Farm Bill.