Yesterday at the Terry County Senior Center, Texas US District 19 House Representative Jodie Arrington held a town hall meeting in front of about 30 constituents. The main topic of discussion was the Farm Bill and an added discussion was about term limits. In Arrington’s framework, he believes in free markets, fair trade, a good strong farm bill with a reliable safety net and sustainable rural communities.
As he began to speak he made mention that there are agriculture issues that is life and death. On the South Plains, food, fiber, and fuel drive the economy and many Americans rely on these sources. The 2018 farm bill still continues to have an uphill battle when dealing with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The farm bill deals with SNAP because it falls under the Dept. of Agriculture.
In the farm bill, the Conservatives and Republicans added a provision to SNAP that anyone from the ages of 18 to 59 must work at least 20 hours a week or receive job training for the same amount of hours. On April 26th, 2018, Arrington went before the House to explain that these provisions are not heartless and highlighted the positive changes to SNAP. (click here to see video) The other side of the aisle was not in support of this provision and has declined to vote on a bill that is historically bi-partisan.
Arrington explained that he believes that there should be a safety net and that he is not against good people who are hurting in a bad way or the economically disadvantaged and believes helping is the American way. Arrington said, “I prefer that help be at the local level, I prefer it be run by the States, I have very little confidence the federal government can run these programs.”
In the 2018 Farm Bill cotton was added back into the Title I program after being stripped from it in 2014. Cotton being placed back into Title I will help producers and the cotton farming communities. This allows cotton producers to receive subsidies like other commodities such as corn, peanuts, peas and others. Arrington was glad to see and pushed for cotton to return back to Title I.
Even as cotton has been placed back into Title I, the far right conservatives such as the Freedom Caucus has been reluctant to come on board, however, according to Arrington there finally all Republicans backing the farm bill proposal. Arrington added that “there are moderate Democrats like there are moderate Republicans, and the moderates (Democrats) want to do this, but they got their play to run, its mid-term elections and they’ll take a chance to make us (Republicans) look heartless.”
Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson who is a ranking member of the House Ag Committee, is typically bi-partisan when comes to the farm bill and his reasoning for not supporting the 2018 Farm Bill is because he believes that the provision of the work requirement and training would be creating more bureaucracy at the state level and he is not sure the states can’t handle it. Arrington explained that the work training begins at the state level. Arrington also feels confident that most moderate Democrats will come to the table when its time to vote.
The subject of term limits was another topic at the town hall meeting. Recently Arrington met with President Trump to talk about a proposed bi-partisan bill that would place term limits on Congress. Arrington’s democratic counter-part, California Democrat Ro Khanna and himself came up with the term limits for the Senate would be two terms of six years, allowing to serve as U.S. Senator for 12 years and 12 years for a House member or six two-year terms. According to Arrington, President Trump is all in. During the town hall meeting, Arrington took a hand poll and asked who is in favor of term limits, and everyone in the room raised their hands. Also according to Arrington, over 80% of the nation wants term limits.