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Thompson Unveils $1.5T Farm Bill

Glenn "GT" Thompson

House Agriculture Chair Glenn ‘G.T.’ Thompson (R-15) unveiled the long-awaited farm bill on Friday morning that significantly boosts farm safety net programs but sets the stage for a battle between Republicans and Democrats to get it across the finish line.

Delayed since last year, the legislation includes several bipartisan measures such as restoring SNAP eligibility for those convicted of drug-related felonies, Republican committee staffers told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

The package comes in at $1.5 trillion and sets the partisan debate over food and agriculture policy. Democrats on the committee have been pressured to not support Thompson’s bill and to back a rival proposal from Senate Agriculture Chair 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 hardworking producers that power our robust agriculture business,” said Sen. John Fetterman. “Farmers in Pennsylvania use these popular programs to support their families and keep their businesses afloat. As Chair of the Nutrition Subcommittee, I thank Senator Stabenow for holding the line on SNAP and Thrifty Food Plan.”

The committee is set to mark up the multiyear package next week, but the gaps between the GOP-controlled House version of the bill and summary of the Democrat-controlled Senate must be closed before Congress can pass the bill.

“I have long been clear in my intent: any farm bill must align the farm safety net with the needs of producers, make long-term investment in locally led, voluntary, incentive-based conservation practices, expand market access and trade promotion opportunities, strengthen program operations to demand transparency and accountability to the taxpayer, revitalize rural communities and economies, and reinforce not only the importance of helping our neighbors in need, but doing so without indiscriminate expansion of our nutrition safety net,” said Thompson.

In addition to major boosts in critical farm safety net program funding to support farmers reeling from grueling inflation, Thompson’s bill doubles key trade promotion to develop and support new markets for farmers to sell their products abroad. It also increases funding for specialty crop programs, expands access to programs that lower energy costs for farmers and rural small businesses and improves tracking of farmland purchases by entities from China and other adversary countries.

The House bill also includes two of the major provisions that have drawn staunch opposition from senior Democrats. One would limit future updates to the Thrifty 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.

The other provision many Democrats oppose removes strict climate-smart requirements for the use of roughly $13 billion in conservation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act when those dollars are incorporated into the farm bill for years to come. The move represents a historic investment in farm conservation funding, but Democrats are pushing to keep the climate guardrails attached to the funding.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a recent interview off the House floor that the House farm bill “was put forward by extreme MAGA Republicans and is dead on arrival in terms of receiving a substantial amount of Democratic support.” Thompson dismissed the remark as “unserious.”

“There exists a few, loud armchair critics that want to divide the Committee and break the process,” he said. “A farm bill has long been an example of consensus, where both sides must take a step off the soapbox and have tough conversations.

“The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 is the product of extensive feedback from stakeholders and all Members of the House, and is responsive to the needs of farm country through the incorporation of hundreds of bipartisan policies,” Thompson said.

One of the last must-pass bills for the 118th Congress to address this year, it has until September 30 to come to a compromise and pass the bill or pass yet another extension.

2 Responses

    1. I heard he’s making you pay for all of it, Huckabeast. Thoughts and prayers.


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