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Farm Bill Still in Limbo as Congress Readies for August Recess

The farm bill is still in limbo as Congress readies to leave town for its traditional August recess, and just a few weeks left after that before the current law expires at the end of September.

It’s the last week Congress is in session before the long summer recess and despite months of farm bill hearings, no markups are scheduled, only talk of plans to write a House bill in September.

But House Ag Chair GT Thompson was still waiting as of last week for USDA and White House budget office data on possible dollars available for a farm bill. Thompson told Agri-Pulse earlier, “They need to obviously come back in a very timely way, and in a more timely turnaround for us, to get the job done.”

Thompson and his committee will need to find every dollar available in an extremely tight budget year, to address high producer input costs and unrealistic reference prices.

Andrew Walmsley formerly at American Farm Bureau cited the biggest farm bill challenge last month. “Moving the first bill through the House and having a majority of the majority support that bill,” said Walmsley. “That will definitely be a challenge for McCarthy, but I think at the end of the day, like we’ve always seen, for a farm bill to be successful, you’re going to have to find bipartisan compromise, and once that is struck, I’m confident they’ll be able to move a farm bill forward.”

But Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be under stiff pressure from his right flank to ensure SNAP work requirements and spending levels are tough enough to clinch GOP majority support.

Recent USDA data showing high SNAP payment error rates may also lead to bipartisan calls for food stamp reforms.

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