House Farm Bill Fight Reflects Senate Fight

A House farm bill appears hung up over the same fight as in the Senate—food stamps versus food production, a fight made worse in a no-new-money farm bill year.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) revealed to farm reporters this week that internal farm bill talks are hung up in a fight pitting food stamp spending against boosting crop reference prices.

Over in the House, Ag Chair GT Thompson (R-PA) told an Axios forum, meeting producer needs will be his priority in a new farm bill. He said, “The difficulties that those families that provide our food are facing. So, that’s the inflationary costs, the Russia-Ukraine-Belarus situation, which has decreased our access to some of our fertilize. Fertilizer you need to increase productivity, and with increased productivity you can feed more people—so it’s the inputs.”

Thompson continued during Axios questioning to stress boosting farm productivity, now up more than 280 percent since the 1940s. “My goal is, with this farm bill, through innovation, science and technology, we take that productivity to 400 percent since the 1940s, by the year 2035,” according to Thompson.

But Democrats are fighting to hold onto SNAP funding boosted in the pandemic and threaten to withhold farm bill votes, otherwise. Top House Ag Democrat David Scott (D-GA) told Ag Republicans in June; “We stand united against any efforts to take food away from children, families, or any vulnerable American in this farm bill or any legislation.”

Scott led a Democratic letter to Speaker McCarthy that “playing partisan SNAP politics” resulted in early failures of the 2014 and ’18 House farm bills, jeopardizing farm safety net programs. Thompson told Agri-Pulse then, lawmakers would not be doing their job if they refused to look at further nutrition title reforms, despite new SNAP work requirements in the Debt Reduction Act.