The House Agriculture Committee marked up on Wednesday the Agriculture & Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The committee passed the bill in a party-line, 26-20 vote, now sending it to the full House for consideration.

The nearly five-hour long markup included consideration of roughly 20 amendments, all submitted by Republicans. The committee adopted 17 amendments, notably including one proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), to prevent states from regulating how foods are grown or processed in other states. The amendment, also adopted in the 2013 markup, would allow lawsuits by farmers, companies, states and the federal government if they had been harmed by state regulations.

Many of the remaining amendments were adopted as a single package. These included measures to modify crop insurance restrictions, changes to broadband project and organic standards, and addressing the exports of biotech products.

No Democratic members offered amendments.

Committee Democrats largely focused attention on the nutrition title and proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They pointed to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office that suggest up to 1.6 million participants in the program would be forced to stop receiving benefits. Many voiced support for an extension of current law and a vote in 2019 when many of the pilot projects mandated in the 2014 Farm Bill are set to be completed.

“There is not a single person in this room or my caucus that doesn’t recognize and appreciate the role of work as a pathway out of poverty. What I can’t support though is a waste of billions on a program that is entirely untested,” Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) said to reporters in reference to the proposed work requirement changes under the nutrition title.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was supportive of the committee’s action. “Included in this farm bill are much-needed reforms that will strengthen America’s workforce and help move people out of poverty.”

Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) told reporters after the markup that he is hoping to bring the bill to the House floor in May, but acknowledged that the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act will take up time on the floor in the coming weeks.

“The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of this year, so we have a duty to act,” Conaway told reporters. “The current conditions in rural America make me feel even stronger about our obligation in this regard.”

“I commend Chairman Conaway and the House Committee on Agriculture for passing a comprehensive Farm Bill out of the Committee today,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The bill closely aligns with the Farm Bill Principles released by USDA in January and is nearly identical to the legislation first introduced last week.

“We are encouraged that the Committee heard the voices of their constituents, who want to preserve and enhance programs contained in the 2014 Farm Bill, as I learned in my conversations with farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers in 35 states in the last twelve months. As the bill heads to the floor, I hope the House recognizes the long-term certainty it provides for America’s farmers, just as it preserves nutrition programs for people who need help feeding themselves and their families. USDA stands ready to provide technical assistance as the bill progresses in the House, and we look forward to working with our friends in the Senate as well. As Republicans and Democrats have farm interests in their own districts and states, we are hopeful that the 2018 Farm Bill can move forward in a bipartisan manner,” Perdue said.