AGRIBUSINESS: Farm Bill Debate Began Tuesday

Opening debate on the House farm bill began yesterday afternoon.

In the opinion of House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas, the House bill’s strengths include livestock disaster assistance and an elimination of direct payments. The House’s $20.5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP remain the bill’s major hurdle in moving from the House to conference.

Lobbyist Chandler Goule with the National Farmers’ Union says Democrats may vote in support of the bill despite the SNAP cuts; a reduction to House SNAP cuts has better chances in conference with members of the Senate.

Lucas estimates the House bill saves $40 billion over the next decade, while the Senate bill saves $24 billion over the same amount of time. In this fiscal year, daily government spending is estimated at $10.4 billion.