CHN: Farm Bill May Move after Congressional Recess

A Farm Bill, which includes the legislation authorizing SNAP/food stamps, could be taken up in the House Agriculture Committee shortly after Congress returns from its Spring recess. However, advocates are concerned that the bill will include deep cuts and harmful changes to SNAP. Reports that Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) planned to include expanded SNAP work requirements on some parents and older adults met with much opposition, and there may be other restrictions that deny assistance to people in need. In response to the anticipated proposal, Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) stood united with his Democratic colleagues on the committee, issuing a statement saying, “The Democratic members of the Agriculture Committee are unanimous in their opposition to the extreme, partisan policies being advocated by the Majority. This opposition will not change.” Democrats on the Committee have also declared that negotiations will not continue until they see actual bill text from the Chairman Conaway.

The Farm Bill has historically been a bipartisan bill, but it is now expected that the bill to be released by Chairman Conaway will not be based on negotiations with Democrats. According to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), a bipartisan Farm Bill from Senate Agriculture Committee Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) could be marked up before the Memorial Day recess.

In addition, the USDA has requested public comments on whether it should reconsider certain rules regarding SNAP’s three-month time limit for adults not raising minor children. Advocates are concerned that the Trump administration will use this opportunity to use the regulatory process to expand the number of people who are subject to the time limit and take away states’ ability to extend the limit to certain individuals. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Feeding America, and FRAC are working together to urge advocates to submit comments to the USDA before the April 9 deadline.

Food and Nutrition