AFBF Says House Farm Bill Markup Will Determine Bill’s Fate This Year

An American Farm Bureau official says next week’s House farm bill markup could be ‘make-or-break it’ for the farm bill this year.

AFB’s director of government affairs, Joe Gilson, says it all comes down to getting both parties to support a farm bill in committee. Otherwise, a razor-thin GOP majority might lack the votes to pass it on the floor. “There’s always going to be a few Republicans who just disagree with anything the Speaker’s trying to do,” according to Gilson. “And so, you need a bipartisan vote out of the Ag Committee to give Speaker Johnson the ability to bring it to the House floor.”

Gilson says while Farm Bureau’s encouraged there is a markup, he can envision a partisan committee vote without changes to SNAP demanded by Democrats. He says, “I could see something like that happening. The biggest outstanding factor right now is that nutrition program, which makes up over 80 percent of the farm bill.”

Gilson freely admits it’ll be hard for Democrats to support tighter SNAP requirements in an election year, but rural ones in tight races might need to. “Voting for farmers and ranchers in your district, that’s good politics,” says Gilson. “Farmers and ranchers want to see an updated farm bill. Since last year, when we had the one-year extension, we needed to see a five-year farm bill to give us the certainty, the farm safety net in place.”

Gilson says House-Senate differences so far on reference prices, payment income caps, and CRP acres and rates can be worked out in conference. The problem is getting farm bills across each floor first, with the legislative window rapidly closing and the political one taking over.

Story by NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau

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