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Rep. Blunt Rochester optimistic on Farm Bill after Democrats flip U.S. House

Delaware Public Media

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester is paying close attention to negotiations between the House and the Senate on this year’s Farm Bill.

President Donald Trump said Republicans need 10 Democrats to pass the House version of Farm Bill with much stricter work requirements for people needing food assistance.

But because Democrats flipped the U.S. House in Tuesday’s midterms, Republicans may be more willing to compromise before they lose power.

Democrats like Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester oppose the tougher work rules. And the Senate’s version of the bill didn’t include them. Blunt Rochester said she’s hopeful a compromise can be reached in the next couple months.

“I want to work together so we can get something because we’ve actual families, people, industry," she said. "Folks are waiting and so it’s not in anybody’s interest to not pass this Farm Bill.”

If there’s no compromise, the 2014 Farm Bill would have to be extended or risk commodity price increases. And lawmakers would likely have to start from scratch next year. But the Democrat expected to lead the House Agriculture Committee has expressed confidence the Farm Bill can be finished in the next several days.

Blunt Rochester is also optimistic about the timetable.

“I think the chances are good," she said. "You know, I think if I was leadership on the other side I’d want to move together so we could get something.”

Most food stamp recipients who are not seniors, children or disabled, do work.

Democrats have picked up 37 House seats so far. The website FiveThirtyEight reports 13 House races are still undecided with 10 leaning Democrats’ way.

Blunt Rochester easily won a second term this week, defeating GOP challenger Scott Walker.

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