Farm Bill Stalemate Continues Over Feeding vs Farm Programs

Partisan disputes that kept Ag lawmakers from realizing a new farm bill last year are showing up again in a tug-of-war between feeding and farm programs. It’s still a fixed pot of farm bill money. So, the age-old farm vs. nutrition program fight continues–only more intensely.

Ag Republicans and farm groups want more dollars to boost ARC and PLC support triggers, Democrats want to protect feeding and climate dollars.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst in a Senate hallway interview, was asked about Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow’s plan to boost crop insurance at the expense of ARC and PLC. Ernst says, “We need more farm in the farm bill, bottom line. All this little shell game stuff, we’ve got to stop this. The SNAP program has exploded. And we can’t continue on a path like this.”

SNAP and other nutrition programs comprise some 82-percent of the farm bill. Ag Republicans argue Stabenow and Democrats must return food stamp funding to pre-pandemic levels. Ernst says; “And I hope she understands that. And that, we’ve got to be serious about coming back to the table and negotiating what’s in the bill.”

But Stabenow recently said the same about the other side; “We can get this done if people are serious, if people are serious, I’m serious about it.”

So, the finger-pointing continues. The old farm law lapsed in September with its outdated crop supports extended one-year.

But the clock is ticking as other disputes over spending bills, foreign military aid, border security and taxes eat up precious floor time before the party conventions this summer and fall election campaigning.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Berns Bureau Washington/by Matt Kaye