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Farm Bill stalls amid nutrition funding debate

Farm Bill stalls amid nutrition funding debate

By Jamie Martin

The U.S. Congress is currently grappling with the enactment of the country’s comprehensive agriculture law. The pressing deadlines are looming, but the bill is stuck in a quagmire of uncertainty due to a heated debate over the funding of nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

U.S. Senator John Boozman, a Republican from Arkansas and the leading figure on the Senate Agriculture Committee, has stressed the urgent need for improved safety nets for farmers.

The future of American agriculture hangs in the balance. A proposed farm bill aims to bolster the industry through financial support for farmers.

However, concerns arise about its potential impact. Senator Boozman argues for the bill's necessity to prevent disruptions in the food supply chain. Conversely, Senator Gillibrand warns that the current draft might prioritize certain crops at the expense of others, potentially leading to an imbalanced food system.

Gillibrand has also highlighted potential threats to nutrition programs under the proposed GOP adjustments. This includes a proposed $30 billion reduction to SNAP benefits, which she warns could dramatically increase hunger among low-income Americans.

Despite these concerns, Boozman counters that SNAP funding has surged by 85% since the last farm bill in 2018. He believes that there is a fiscal limit to how much can be allocated to SNAP.

Facing an expiring extension for the 2018 Farm Bill in September, Congress might consider a short-term extension to allow for continued negotiations on a more permanent 2024 Farm Bill.

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