CHN: Farm Bill Negotiations Near Conclusion

UPDATE: The Senate passed (87-3) the Farm Bill on Dec. 11, and the House followed suit (369-47) on Dec. 12. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation the week of Dec. 17. Advocates are pleased that the bill protects SNAP and rejects several harmful provisions included in the original House bill. For more information on the final bill, see these statements from CHN, the Food Research and Action Center, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Advocates are cautiously optimistic that the compromise version of the Farm Bill, which could be released as early as Dec. 11 and voted on in the House and Senate as early as this week, will not include expanded work requirements and tightened eligibility requirements. While final details of the compromise version of the bill aren’t yet fully known, reports are that the bill closely follows the Senate-passed version of the bill, which did not have the deep cuts and harmful changes to SNAP that were included in the version that narrowly passed the House in June. The 2014 farm bill, which includes the reauthorization of SNAP/food stamps, expired on September 30, though SNAP and nearly all nutrition programs have continued to operate and distribute benefits since then.

The Senate bill maintains current basic work rules and eligibility requirements, while modestly expanding existing employment and training pilot programs, unlike the House bill’s onerous work and eligibility requirements. Advocates strongly oppose the House farm bill, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates would cause more than 1 million low-income households with more than 2 million people – particularly low-income working families with children – to lose their benefits altogether or have them reduced. Roughly 265,000 children in low-income families would also lose access to free meals at school under the House bill.

If the reports are correct and the compromise farm bill avoids the drastic cuts of the House bill, it will be a big win for anti-poverty advocates. For more information, see the July 23 Human Needs Report, CHN’s Protecting Basic Needs resource page, and the recording of a webinar CHN cosponsored with CBPP, Feeding America, and FRAC.

Food and Nutrition