Lawmakers Discuss Latest with Farm Bill, Nutrition and Crop Insurance Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congress is back in action, with a lot on its plate. One of the major priorities for federal lawmakers in the coming weeks is a new farm bill. 

Every five years, Congress is tasked with finalizing a new farm bill. The current $428 billion 2018 Farm Bill was extended through the end of September, the conclusion of the current fiscal year. That means the deadline for a new one is just a few months away and we’re starting to learn more about what lawmakers want included. 

One of the biggest pieces of the farm bill is nutrition programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In recent years, SNAP has assisted over 40 million individuals each month.  

Democrats, including Senator John Fetterman (D- PA), say they will stand firm against any potential cuts to SNAP benefits. 

“We want to maximize and deliver for Pennsylvania’s farms. We need to protect family farms in Pennsylvania and in America. I’ve also been very clear that no one can touch SNAP,” said Sen. Fetterman. “And I have been very clear that I’m willing to be the Tuberville of the Democrats to jam it up if they take a chance to come at SNAP,” Fetterman added, referring to the 10-month hold on over 400 military promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R- AL) late last year. 

Today, Senate Republicans spoke about the need for a strong crop insurance program. They said it’s the most reliable form of risk management for producers and is the key to a strong farm bill. 

There is bipartisan support for crop insurance, but final cost estimates won’t be clear until committee markups, hearings and negotiations begin to take place in the coming weeks.