Hunt For Farm Bill Dollars Taking Time, Slowing Farm Bill Process

The hunt for scare dollars to write a new farm bill is taking time, slowing the farm bill process, based on recent comments by House Ag Chair GT Thompson.

Thompson told Agri-Pulse recently, he’s waiting on USDA and the Congressional Budget Office for data on where to find scarce new farm bill dollars. He says; “They need to obviously, come back in a very timely way, in a more timely turnaround for us, to get the job done.”

Until then, Thompson’s not ready to say if dollars for commodities and crop insurance should come from other key areas like conservation. Thompson says; “We’ll be in a better position to make that judgement when we get this data from both CBO and from the department. I don’t want to shoot from the hip and do this blindly.”

But Thompson points to two pots of money—one inside the farm bill, the other, outside; “Monies that have been agriculture-designated, outside the farm bill that have not been…by various pieces of legislation over the last two years, that have not been spent. Some of that’s been clawed back with the Debt Reduction Act, but not all of it.”

Reprogramming ad hoc disaster aid, close to 90 billion spent since the ’18 farm bill, is another option. Inside the farm bill, nutrition is still on the table. Thompson; “I don’t think we’d be doing our job if we just said, ‘we’re not going to look at any further (changes) to nutrition title.’ Well, that’s not right.”

Thompson and Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow claim the issue of expanding SNAP work requirements was settled by the Biden-McCarthy debt reduction deal. Others in both parties disagree, vowing to fight for tougher or weaker constraints.

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