Congress could be even later than expected in completing the new farm bill, said two farm policy experts during a webinar on Tuesday, four days before the current law expires. House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders are now aiming for passage of the 2023 farm bill by the end of December, but closed-door negotiations have moved slowly.
The “very difficult” politics of SNAP are among the greatest obstacles to passing the new farm bill, said Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow on Wednesday. The Michigan Democrat is a stalwart defender of public nutrition programs in a year when House Republicans want to apply a 90-day limit on food stamps to a greater number of recipients.
An estimated 500,000 people, more than 1 percent of current food stamp recipients, will be cut off SNAP beginning in October with the return of the 90-day limit on benefits for some able-bodied adults, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The figure may actually be closer to 1 million people, the group said.
With the debate on the debt limit over, Democrats heading four Senate committees urged the Biden administration to act swiftly to remove a time limit on food stamps to able-bodied veterans, homeless people and young adults who "aged out" of foster care. The debt bill waived the time limit on those groups at the same time it lengthened the age range of people who must work at least 80 hours a month or be limited to 90 days of SNAP benefits in a three-year period.
The Biden administration is spending too much on SNAP and is unwilling to restrict access to food stamps, farm-state Republicans told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday. They called for stricter work requirements for SNAP and said, without evidence, that millions of migrants might be receiving benefits. “Absurd,” responded Vilsack.