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New Year Farm Bill Funding Boost Not a Given

Increased funding for a farm bill next year is not a given, nor could it be counted on to boost political support for a five-year farm and nutrition bill. A streamlined budget process known as “reconciliation” allows the Senate to pass tax, spending, and debt limit bills with a simple majority vote instead of a filibuster-proof 60-vote margin.

But longtime Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is doubtful the process could be used to pass a partisan farm bill. He says, “I would think that would be a pretty heavy lift to do through reconciliation. And I don’t know that it ever has been done that way. And the other thing, remember, is reconciliation’s a partisan approach to policymaking, and farm bills have always been bipartisan, and I think it’s better that they are.”

But others are open to using reconciliation if needed and if the November elections make it possible. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said “We need to have a Republican President, a Republican House, and a Republican Senate, or there’ll be no reconciliation, at all. And it is an important tool. We hope to have an opportunity to use it, and we’ll find out the first Tuesday in November.”

The farm bill became problematic after budget writers gave the two Ag committees no new farm bill spending authority over the budget baseline, forcing the ongoing fight between farm and feeding programs.

Reconciliation’s been used some two dozen times since 1980 for everything from welfare reform and tax cuts to the Biden American Rescue Plan, but apparently not for a farm bill.

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

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