House spending leader says USDA’s wings should be clipped
The Biden administration cannot be trusted to spend tax dollars prudently, and Congress ought to block the USDA’s access to the $30 billion reserve fund it used to launch a climate mitigation initiative, said the chair of a House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday. The Republican-controlled Congress restricted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s access to the fund for five years during the Obama administration.
In a farm bill preview, farm-state Republicans attack SNAP
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.
McCarthy seeks stronger work requirements for able-bodied adults seeking federal assistance
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy asked for another face-to-face session with President Biden over the federal debt limit on Tuesday and said trillions of dollars could be saved through steps such as stronger work requirements for able-bodied adults seeking government benefits. The upcoming farm bill is another arena where work requirements could be discussed.
Key House Democrat says ‘no way’ to SNAP cuts
Congress will write the 2023 farm bill without harming SNAP, notwithstanding Republican suggestions to restrict food-stamp eligibility, said the senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee on Monday. "There is no way we are going to accept any cuts in this program," said Rep. David Scott of Georgia at a farm conference.
Survey: Food insecurity rose in ’22 amid inflation, loss of pandemic supports
High food prices and a rollback of pandemic aids drove a significant increase in food insecurity last year, according to a survey by the Urban Institute that was published Tuesday. Some 24.6 percent of adults surveyed reported experiencing food insecurity in 2022, up from 20 percent in 2021. (No paywall)
Senator warns of farm-size conflict in farm bill negotiations
At the same time that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for more attention to small and midsize farmers, who see limited revenue from agriculture, a key Southern senator cautioned on Thursday against “a small farm versus big farm conflict” in writing the new farm bill. Large-scale operators collect the lion’s share of U.S. farm subsidies at present because payments are tied to production volume.
At listening session, calls for greater farm bill funding and a stronger SNAP
Congress needs to modernize the crop insurance program and update farm subsidies to reflect higher input costs and volatile commodity markets when it writes the new farm bill, said the leader of the largest U.S. farm group at a listening session in Texas on Wednesday. An anti-hunger leader asked lawmakers to “keep the importance of access to SNAP and the adequacy of those benefits top of mind throughout farm bill discussions.”
USDA clears two states to replace stolen SNAP benefits
Maryland and Vermont became the first states approved by the USDA to replace recipients’ SNAP benefits stolen by card skimming, card cloning and similar crimes, said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Stacy Dean on Tuesday. Benefit replacement is available for two years ending on Sept. 30, …
Democrat-backed bill would end time limit for SNAP benefits
A day after the White House called for the elimination of barriers to food assistance, nearly three dozen House Democrats filed a bill to end the three-month limit on SNAP benefits for so-called ABAWDs, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 without dependents. "Research finds that relinquishing access to SNAP benefits only forces people into hunger, not job security," said Rep. Barbara Lee of California, a lead sponsor of the legislation.
USDA climate funding targeted in debt-limit fight
The House Freedom Caucus called for the elimination of "billions (of dollars) of wasteful climate spending," — a category that would include $20 billion given to USDA conservation programs — as part of an agreement to raise the federal debt limit.
USDA spending falls as White House envisions transformational farm bill
Agriculture Department spending would fall 14 percent in the new fiscal year, due almost entirely to reduced SNAP benefits with the end of the pandemic, said the White House on Thursday. It proposed relatively modest initiatives at the USDA for fiscal 2024, such as offering free school meals to more poor children, while seeing golden potential in the new farm bill for broad-scale change.
SNAP is a bulwark for low-wage workers, says Vilsack
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack bristled at the “notion of picking on SNAP” when millions of Americans are locked into low-wage jobs and need help buying food. “We never have that conversation,” he said on Thursday. Cuts to food stamps have become a frequent suggestion by conservative Republicans in Congress in debates over the farm bill or raising the debt ceiling.
USDA proposes online shopping for WIC recipients
Four years after it launched a test of online grocery shopping for SNAP recipients — which rapidly expanded during the pandemic — the Agriculture Department proposed the same shopping flexibility for households enrolled in the WIC program. "We agree with WIC participants and stakeholders — online grocery shopping and ordering is essential for busy Americans," said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Stacy Dean, who oversees WIC and other public nutrition programs.
Rising cost of SNAP could drive farmers out of farm bill coalition, says Boozman
The price tag for SNAP is going up so quickly — doubling during the pandemic — that it will poison support for the farm subsidy and land stewardship programs that make up the rest of the farm bill, said the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. “You are going to crowd out our ability ... to use funds on other programs,” said Arkansas Sen. John Boozman.
CBO: SNAP to cost $121 billion a year
After surging to a record $149 billion last year as part of the federal response to the pandemic, SNAP will cost $121 billion a year in the near term, said the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday.
Farm bill perspectives come in blue and red in the Senate
Farm bills are typically a marriage of farm support and public nutrition programs, but Republicans and Democrats bring different priorities to the undertaking, said associate professor Jonathan Coppess of the University of Illinois.
Chairman’s priorities: ‘Production’ agriculture, rural revitalization
In a camaraderie-filled meeting, Chairman Glenn Thompson said that everyone on the House Agriculture Committee was a member “of the farm team,” and his list of priorities for the committee put conventional agriculture and rural development first. “We certainly will have our work cut out for us as far as reauthorizing the farm bill,” he said on Wednesday.
Farm bill should expand SNAP, test fruit and vegetable incentives — task force
Congress should expand SNAP, the premiere U.S. anti-hunger program, to all American territories in the new farm bill and test whether benefits tied to the purchase of fruits and vegetables would improve the diets of SNAP households, a high-powered task force proposed on Tuesday. The recommendations could add billions of dollars a year to SNAP outlays at a time when conservative Republicans want to cut its cost.