WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) says work on the upcoming Farm Bill is falling far behind. He is still waiting to meet with a key Biden administration official on that issue.
Congress passes the Farm Bill every five years. The 2018 bill was $867 billion. Congressman Glenn Thompson – who is now the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee – says lawmakers had over 100 hearings before they passed the bill that year. Now, ahead of the 2023 Farm Bill, he says Democrats have barely started the process.
“We’re at least 18 months to two years behind in doing actual hearings, listening sessions, roundtables, hearing from people in the fields and the farms,” Thompson said in an interview last week.
To recap, the Farm Bill is a catch-all package of legislation related to farming, food, agriculture industry subsidies, SNAP benefits, and more.
Thompson says Democrats have been squarely focused on President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, including the $1.2 infrastructure plan and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. The Senate version of the human infrastructure bill would include $135 billion in new funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Agriculture.com. Top Senate Republicans say Democrats allocated that money on their own.
U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack has not met with the House Ag Committee to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill or to assess the 2018 law, Thompson noted.
“Although the Democrats aren’t proceeding the way we should, we still have an obligation to bring those voices to the Farm Bill process,” Thompson said.
We reached out to the U.S.D.A. and to learn more about the status of the 2023 Farm Bill, but they did not return our request for comment.