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Lawmakers unconfident about passing farm bill before deadline

Lawmakers unconfident about passing farm bill before deadline

The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Federal lawmakers don’t think they’ll be able to pass the next farm bill before the current one expires.

“We’ll figure it out,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said, the Washington Examiner reported. “The Democrats are really not interested in rural America anymore, but somehow we’ll put that together. Oh, not before Sept. 30, but we’ll all put that together and look out as best we can for our rural and small-town America priorities.”

“We will do an extension, and we will get it done probably in October (or) early November,” Randy Feenstra, a Congressman from Iowa, told KIWA Radio.

This wouldn’t be the first time passing the farm bill required more time.

Lawmakers also needed more time to pass the 2018 farm bill.

The five-year, $867 billion bill expired on Sept. 30. Then-President Trump signed it on Dec. 20.

Debbie Stabenow, chair of the senate agriculture committee, hopes the 2023 farm bill will be signed by the end of the calendar year, Roll Call reports.

Multiple factors could play into any farm bill delays.

A bill that would be included as part of the overall farm bill package may be one of them.

The Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, which prohibits State or local governments from imposing standards or conditions on preharvest production of ag products, is a sensitive issue.

The law “could harm America’s small farmers, threaten numerous state laws, and infringe on the fundamental rights of states to establish laws and regulations within their borders,” a bipartisan letter from senators says.

Negotiations on nutritional support could also play into stalled farm bill talks.

Republican lawmakers expanded work requirements on SNAP benefits earlier this year as part of the debt ceiling agreement.

This includes raising the work requirement to 55 for able-bodied adults without dependents. Recipients must also prove employment, volunteering or job training or risk losing the benefits.

Democrats on the House Ag Committee are asking Republicans to leave SNAP benefits alone.

“Playing partisan SNAP politics does nothing to address the needs of our farm and ranch families who depend on the other components of the farm bill, whether it’s the farm safety net, conservation, trade or other titles, the Democrats said in a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Whenever the 2023 farm bill passes, it could be a historic day.

In May, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the 2023 farm bill could be first trillion-dollar farm bill in U.S. history.

For context, the U.S. spent $877 billion on national defense in 2022.

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