Thompson introduces $1.5 trillion farm bill

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-15) exposed the long-awaited agricultural bill on Friday morning, which will significantly improve farm safety net programs but sets the stage for a battle between Republicans and Democrats to get to the finish line.

Delayed from last yearthe legislation includes several bipartisan measures, such as restoring SNAP eligibility to people convicted of drug-related crimes, Republican committee staffers told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

The package costs $1.5 trillion and kicks off a partisan debate over food and agriculture policy. There was pressure on Democrats on the committee not to support Thompson’s bill and to support a competing proposal from the Senate Agriculture chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

“The programs outlined in this package will be huge for Pennsylvania, our 50,000 farms, our more than seven million acres of farmland, and the hard-working producers who fuel our vibrant agricultural operations,” he said Dream. John Fetterman. “Pennsylvania farmers use these popular programs to support their families and sustain their businesses. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, I thank Senator Stabenow for maintaining his position on SNAP and the Thrifty Food Plan.”

The committee is expected to approve the multi-year package next week, but before Congress can pass the bill, loopholes must be closed between the GOP-controlled version of the bill in the House and the Democratic-controlled Senate’s summary.

“I have long made my intentions clear: any farm bill must align the farm safety net with the needs of producers, make long-term investments in locally-led, voluntary and incentive-based conservation practices, expand market access and trade promotion opportunities, strengthen program operations to require transparency and accountability to the taxpayer, revitalize rural communities and economies, and underscore the importance of not only helping our neighbors in need, but without massively expanding our food safety net,” Thompson said.

In addition to significantly increasing funding for a key farm safety net program designed to support farmers struggling with crippling inflation, Thompson’s bill doubles key trade promotion to develop and support up-to-date markets where farmers can sell their products abroad. It also increases funding for specialty crop programs, expands access to programs that lower energy costs for farmers and compact rural businesses, and improves tracking of farmland purchases by entities from China and other adversarial countries.

The House bill also includes two key provisions that have met with powerful opposition from senior Democrats. Future updates to the Frugal Food Plan, which serves as the basis for calculating benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the nation’s largest anti-hunger program for low-income Americans, could be narrow.

The second provision, which many Democrats oppose, would eliminate stringent, climate-friendly requirements for the operate of approximately $13 billion in environmental funding from the Inflation Reduction Act once those dollars are included in the Farm Bill for coming years. The move represents a historic investment in farm conservation financing, but Democrats insist on keeping climate barriers tied to funding.

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries said in a recent interview outside the House floor that the House farm bill “was proposed by extreme MAGA Republicans and did not receive significant Democratic support when it was passed.” Thompson dismissed the remark as “frivolous.”

“There are some loud armchair critics who want to divide the Committee and stop the process,” he said. “The Farm Bill has long been an example of a consensus that both sides need to get off their soapbox and have difficult conversations.

“The Farm, Food, and Homeland Security Act of 2024 is the result of extensive feedback from stakeholders and all members of the House and addresses the needs of farms by incorporating hundreds of bipartisan policies,” Thompson said.

One of the last bills the 118th Congress must pass this year gives it until Sept. 30 to reach a compromise and pass the bill or pass another extension.

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