Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
New Year’s SALE: Up to 40% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

Analysis-U.S. House Republican farm bill approach may test Biden hunger, climate goals

Commodities Nov 18, 2022 04:11PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A combine harvester is seen as it harvests soybeans while loading a grain transfer hoper in Deerfield, Ohio, U.S., October 7, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. Picture taken October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Dane Rhys/File Photo

By Leah Douglas

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's pledges to slash emissions from farming and to end American hunger by 2030 may be harder to realize now that Republicans flipped the House of Representatives with a thin majority.

Biden's Democrats, who retain control of the Senate, will start negotiating in the coming months with Republican House leaders over a massive farm spending bill passed every five years that funds U.S. public food benefits and farm commodity programs.

The current $428 billion bill expires on Sept. 30, 2023.

“We know the Republicans will be less excited about innovation and will probably want to protect the status quo,” said Vanessa García Polanco, policy campaigns co-director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, a nonprofit group.

The House and Senate agriculture committees draft the bill, and both parties typically make concessions in negotiations. Biden's With Republicans about to control the House, policy advocates said anti-hunger and environment groups may have to scale back policy proposals they had hoped to get included in the bill such as rewarding farmers for climate-friendly practices and expanding food benefits.

The House agriculture committee will likely be led starting in January by Glenn "GT" Thompson of Pennsylvania. A staffer for Thompson said his main goal is to get the bill passed and he does not yet have clear policy priorities. In past remarks, he has criticized U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spending on climate programs, and supported restrictions on hunger benefits.

The farm bill has a historical reputation of bipartisanship, so some advocates told Reuters they are warily optimistic. Still, growing polarization in Congress could hinder strong hunger and climate goals. Passage of the 2014 farm bill was held up more than a year as conservative House Republicans tried unsuccessfully to strip the bill of nutrition programs.

About 80% of Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee are members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, whose 2023 budget recommendations similarly proposed dramatic changes such as separating nutrition and farm programs.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said she planned to lead a bipartisan negotiation process and that the bill would ultimately align with Biden’s priorities.

“Make no mistake: we cannot, and will not, go backwards,” she told Reuters in an email. “The climate crisis is real. Millions of Americans, including millions of children, are food insecure.”

‘HUNGER CLIFF’

About 75% of farm bill funds go toward anti-hunger programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps. USDA data shows about 41 million people have received SNAP benefits this year.

In previous farm bills, Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee have sought tighter nutrition spending. The issue could be particularly contentious this time because emergency pandemic-era boosts to SNAP could expire as soon as January, said Ellen Vollinger of the Food Research & Action Center, an anti-hunger group.

“Whenever it does end, most SNAP recipients are going to lose about $82 a person a month,” she said, calling the looming expiration a “hunger cliff.” Surging food price inflation also has strained household budgets.

At an April agriculture committee hearing on the SNAP program, Thompson expressed support for tightening work requirements for benefit recipients. But Jim McGovern, a Democrat on the House farm committee, told Reuters any cuts to SNAP or changes to work requirements "will result in a farm bill not getting done, period."

In September, at the first hunger conference of its kind in half a century, Biden pledged to end hunger by 2030. Many of the strategies he laid out would require Congressional action, but there was little Republican participation in the conference, which Thompson called a "political stunt".

NOT A 'CLIMATE BILL'

Republicans have also protested efforts by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reduce farming’s 10% contribution to U.S. emissions of climate-warming gases.

In September, USDA announced a $3 billion investment for “climate-smart” farm projects like planting cover crops and using sustainable grazing practices. Every Republican member of the House agriculture committee signed a letter calling the funding “abusive and troublesome."

Thompson's aide said he took issue with spending that money without Congressional input. At an August farm conference in Iowa, Thompson said if he led the agriculture committee, he would "ensure that the farm bill doesn't become a climate bill."

Vilsack told Reuters in an email that the agency was committed to its climate goals.

“At the request of farmers, ranchers and producers, we will find ways to increase their production and profits though climate-smart agriculture,” he said.

Hearings discussing the farm bill are underway, but negotiations are behind where they typically would be at this point in the farm bill cycle, in part because of Congressional priorities on other legislation, said Mike Lavender, interim policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a farm policy group.

“It’s going to be a crunch,” he said.

Analysis-U.S. House Republican farm bill approach may test Biden hunger, climate goals
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email