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Stalemate over Nutrition Funding Delays U.S. Farm Bill

USA 24.06.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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The U.S. Congress faces pressing deadlines to enact the newest version of the country's comprehensive agriculture law this year. However, a contentious debate over nutrition program funding, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has left the farm bill mired in uncertainty.
Stalemate over Nutrition Funding Delays U.S. Farm Bill
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), the leading Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, emphasizes the dire need for enhanced safety nets for farmers, which are crucial for risk management and income support. "If we don't support our farmers adequately, the entire system falters. We often take for granted that our nation benefits fr om the most affordable, safest food supply in the world," Boozman remarked. He advocates for increased borrowing options to sustain agricultural operations.

Conversely, Senate Democrats, led by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), criticize the bill's disproportionate focus on commodities while neglecting fruits and vegetables. "The proposed $1.5 trillion bill pours hundreds of millions more into commodities, yet it completely overlooks critical sectors like fruits and vegetables," Gillibrand expressed concern.

Additionally, Gillibrand highlights potential threats to nutrition programs under the proposed GOP adjustments, including a $30 billion proposed reduction to SNAP benefits. "Such cuts could dramatically increase hunger among low-income Americans," she warned.

Despite these concerns, Boozman counters that SNAP funding has surged by 85% since the last farm bill in 2018 and believes the funding for this program must be capped. "There's a fiscal lim it to how much we can allocate to SNAP," he stated.

As the extension of the 2018 Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of September, Congress may need to pass a temporary extension to provide more time for negotiations on the comprehensive 2024 Farm Bill.
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