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Competing Visions for Farm Bill Stir Capitol Hill Activity

04 May 2024
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Legislators have unveiled competing proposals for the upcoming five-year farm bill, sparking a ton of activity on Capitol Hill as they seek to hash out their differences.

Subsidies for farmers, crop insurance, SNAP food benefits and other crucial agricultural provisions hang in the balance as Congress grapples with this legislation, a recurring task every five years. With the deadline looming, the focus is squarely on forging bipartisan consensus in the coming weeks.

"It protects the interests of small farmers, it protects crucial climate funding to help farmers from things like natural disasters, and it provides robust nutrition assistance that directly helps millions of kids across the country," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Senate Democrats are advocating for expanded nutrition assistance, targeting college students, military families and seniors, alongside initiatives to bolster rural healthcare, childcare and combat climate change. Conversely, House Republicans prioritize enhancing rural broadband access, facilitating entry for new farmers and fostering international trade avenues.

While these blueprints lay the groundwork, contentious elements dubbed "poison-pill policies" by House Democrats have stalled progress. Nonetheless, Senate Republicans are crafting their own framework, with Senator Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, committed to bipartisan collaboration to advance the bill.

"I am reaching out to Republican leaders on the other side because this is the moment to complete the negotiations because farmers and families need the stability of a five-year farm bill," Stabenow said.

The farm bill is already lagging behind by a year. Last fall, Congress approved a one-year extension of the 2018 bill. Now, lawmakers must finalize the new bill and send it to President Biden's desk by Sept. 30 of this year.


Catalyst

Farmers Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.