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Vilsack Weighs in on GOP Farm Bill, CCC, SNAP

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack weighed in on the House GOP farm bill during a press call announcing CCC funding for a new ag export promotion program.

Vilsack says future funding for the new Regional Agricultural Program, or RAPP started with $300 million for 66 U.S. ag export-related groups, could lapse under the House GOP farm bill. “We may not have the flexibility or capacity to respond to a need or a challenge that may arise if there are constraints placed on the CCC,” according to Vilsack. “I think it would be a mistake to constrain the capacity of any Secretary to use the CCC.”

Vilsack criticized the Trump Administration for exhausting the CCC to fund a trade war with China, arguing the Biden USDA’s used it in a “strategic and surgical” way. Vilsack said, “That’s the way CCC should be used. I don’t think it should be artificially constrained in order to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul.’”

And the same for taking savings from SNAP for farm safety net programs. Vilsack says SNAP work requirements were already tightened in last year’s debt ceiling deal saying “Where I come from, a deal’s a deal.”

And if there’s any doubt which farm bill Vilsack and the White House support, he said, “Senator Stabenow and the work that she has done to put the framework together on the Senate side has taken, I think, a practical and realistic and reasonable approach to try to fashion a bill that does address the safety net for farmers and producers, without jeopardizing the safety net for 40 (M) million or more Americans who rely today and who will rely on SNAP in the future.”

When asked if House Chair GT Thompson consulted with him on the farm bill, Vilsack says Thompson had no “reason or responsibility” to do so but was likely following the lead of his GOP members.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau

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