Lawmakers release dueling plans for 5-year farm bill

Lawmakers on both sides of Capitol Hill have begun the scramble to reach an agreement on this must-pass legislation.
The U.S. Capitol
Posted at 2:10 PM, May 03, 2024

Subsidies for farmers, crop insurance, SNAP food benefits and more are all on the line this year with Congress set to deal with the farm bill. It's a massive piece of legislation Congress needs to deal with every five years, and it's top of the agenda right now. But the next few weeks could tell us a lot about whether lawmakers can work across the aisle to get this legislation done.

Lawmakers on both sides of Capitol Hill have begun the scramble to reach an agreement on this must-pass legislation.

"It protects the interests of small farmers, it protects crucial climate funding to help farmers from things like natural disasters, and it provides robust nutrition assistance that directly helps millions of kids across the country," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

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Senate Democrats hope to improve access to nutrition assistance for college students, military families, and seniors. Their proposal also aims to expand rural health care and child care, and includes efforts to combat climate change.

A plan releasedby House Republicans highlights efforts to improve broadband internet access in rural communities, help new farmers get started in the business, and expand international trade opportunities.

These frameworks are an important step, but there's still lots of work to do. Democrats in the House are complaining about "poison pill policies" in the GOP proposal. Republicans in the Senate are working on a framework of their own, but Sen. Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture committee, has pledged to move forward in a bipartisan way.

"I am reaching out to Republican leaders on the other side because this is the moment to complete the negotiations because farmers and families need the stability of a five-year farm bill," Stabenow told the media on Wednesday.

This year's farm bill is already a year behind schedule. Congress passed a one-year extension of the 2018 bill last fall. Now, lawmakers have until Sept. 30 of this year to get the bill to President Biden's desk.