Where’s the Farm Bill? Does it matter?
As far as the first question in the title of this goes:
On November 15th, the Senate voted to pass a House bill for a continuing resolution, which included an extension of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill extends the farm bill through September 2024. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law.
This bill not only averts a government shutdown, but also includes funding for almost all “orphan” programs that would have otherwise lost funding as of January 1st. The extension gives Congress an additional 10 months to pass a new farm bill. Despite this longer runway, there is still lots to be negotiated. Legislators still need to decide how IRA funding will be distributed as well as funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), two extremely contentious issues. It’s expected that Congress will use this extension to present a draft of a new farm bill early next year.
President Biden did in fact quickly sign the bill.
The point of the second question in the title is that the newest Farm Bill, whenever it does actually happen, is apt to be very much like the current one, and like all those that we’ve had for decades. That is, it will basically have been written by and for Big Ag, though with a few assuaging items meant to benefit smaller, independent farmers, here and there. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything at all wrong with those assuaging items. It would just be good to see a lot more of those, and a whole lot less for the Big Ag greedheads.
One thing about the process could be different this time. Normally it all features a lot of screeching by right-wingers about needing big cuts to SNAP and WIC, supposedly in order to force all the government-dependent deadbeats to get jobs. This is political pandering to the always resentful, blaming right-wing base, even though politically conservative rural areas are overall the biggest users of those programs.
Things could certainly change back and forth in the coming months, presumably depending on Party of Trump political calculations. But for now not only is the GOP apparently scurrying away like roaches up a drainpipe from “big spending cuts or a shutdown” threats in general, that seems to be specifically happening with SNAP among other things. It would indeed be a relief to be spared the standard right-wing histrionics, as always amplified and lathered with corporate spin in corporate “news” media, on this.
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