A fall farm bill looks less certain than expected, as House GOP leaders try to head off a looming rebellion from their hard-right flank.
House Freedom Caucus Republicans are now targeting the farm bill, USDA and other spending bills, and any clean budget extension to keep the government open after September 30.
Senate Ag Republican Chuck Grassley (R-IA) claims at least the shutdown threat won’t fly. He says, “You just got to say that that’s jockeying, that just normally goes on in the House of Representatives. To some extent, you had the same problem for Pelosi, only it wasn’t as public as it is now among Republicans.”
But dozens of GOP hardliners are demanding bigger spending cuts, more for border security and limits to Ukraine aid to keep the government open. In the farm bill, they want tougher SNAP work and state work-waiver requirements.
Food stamp funding is mandatory, but Grassley says other farm bill programs would have to be extended. Grassley says, “If the farm bill programs end September 30, they could be easily extended for the next few weeks while we’re negotiating the five-year farm bill. But if we don’t get a five-year farm bill done by December 31, I’m sure we’re going to have to have a one year extension.”
Politico reports House Ag Chair GT Thompson, already late in producing a draft farm bill, is trying to avert a “catastrophe” on the floor by hard-liners upset over the bill’s trillion-dollar-plus price tag. But GOP lawmakers now expect at least 60 House Republicans to oppose a final farm bill, forcing Speaker McCarthy to turn to Democrats for votes, risking an internal rebellion to his speakership.