Vilsack outlines his opposition to House farm bill

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says he has “deep concerns” about the House Ag Committee’s version of the new farm bill.

“It really is designed not to create a route to passage,” he said, “but I think it’s designed unfortunately for a route to impasse, which will cause a further delay.”

During a press call Wednesday, Vilsack said he opposes the House’s nutrition provisions. “Proposing to reduce over time the benefits that might be available to families that are utilizing SNAP, as much as $27 billion, it is essentially a crack in the coalition.”

He says farm bill text that includes Commodity Credit Corporation reform could be problematic for disaster assistance. “Tying the hands of a secretary, as this bill proposes, making it impossible to utilize the benefits of the Commodity Credit Corporation in those circumstances.”

Vilsack says he supports the Senate Ag Committee’s framework recently released by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow.

House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson responded to Vilsack’s remarks on Wednesday. “Funding the farm bill is always a puzzle, and finding the right pieces to produce a strong farm bill has been tricky but also a worthwhile venture because we’ve been able to make historic investments in the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. It’s clear from this eleventh hour push that the Secretary is determined to use every penny of the borrowing authority made available to him to circumvent Congress if left unchecked. The Committee is reasserting Congress’ authority over the Commodity Credit Corporation, which will bring reckless administrative spending under control and provides funding for key bipartisan priorities in the farm bill. The sudden rancor on using the CCC as a pay-for is nothing more than the latest partisan attempt to divide our committee and slow down progress on passing a farm bill,” Thompson said.

The House Ag Committee is scheduled to mark up the farm bill on Thursday. The current extension expires at the end of September.

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