2018 Farm Bill Priorities
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are negotiating the 2018 Farm Bill, a massive piece of legislation that—among other things—provides structure and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the cornerstone of our nation’s nutrition safety net. The race to pass the Farm Bill by the September 30 deadline is on, with House and Senate conferees meeting in the coming days to hash out a compromise bill that must pass both chambers—without amendments—before being sent to the President’s desk.
Farm Bill State of Play
After months of anticipatory community hearings, advocacy, public debate and closed-door meetings, the Farm Bill is now moving at lightning speed. On September 5, 2018, the 56-member Farm Bill Conference Committee held its first and likely only public meeting, led by Congressional agriculture principles Senators Roberts and Stabenow and Representatives Conaway and Peterson. All 56 members publicly expressed their desires for a speedy passage of the Farm Bill. However, large and important divisions affecting SNAP and millions of food insecure Americans—among other things—still remain, and must be reconciled by the Conference Committee before there can be a final vote on the Farm Bill.
MAZON remains deeply concerned that the House’s version of the Farm Bill represents a fundamental and cruel shift in the reach and impact of SNAP, which would harm millions of Americans who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. It was first defeated in the House and then, a month later, narrowly passed in a 213-211 vote in June.
MAZON supports the Senate’s Farm Bill—a bipartisan bill that leaves the nutrition title relatively unimpacted—that passed the Senate in an 86-11 vote this summer. We continue to urge Congress to follow the bipartisan lead of the Senate and maintain SNAP eligibility and benefit levels. Conferees must reject the ideological agenda put forth by the House, which would negatively impact millions of Americans including single mothers, seniors, veterans and military families, Native Americans, working families, and more.
We are heartened that Senators Roberts and Stabenow are joined with Congressman Peterson in strong opposition to changes to eligibility, work requirements and waivers for SNAP recipients outlined in the House version. However, President Trump, Vice President Pence and Speaker Ryan are pushing for additional barriers to accessing SNAP.
During September, the Conference Committee will work to release a compromise Farm Bill. This will be followed by a Congressional Budget Office score and then a floor vote in both the House and the Senate, yet to be scheduled.
Time is very tight so there is still a chance a short-term extension will be needed if negotiations break down and the September 30, 2018, deadline can’t be met.
Check out MAZON's Vice President of Public Policy, Josh Protas, as he shares his reflections following the Conference Committee meeting.
We need you to join our nationwide effort to protect and strengthen SNAP in the 2018 Farm Bill—before it’s too late.
Now is a great time to schedule a lobby visit or drop by your legislator's district office. Check out our Farm Bill Advocacy Toolkit to learn more.
Anyone can join MAZON in advocating to protect and strengthen critical nutrition assistance programs. Click here to send an email to your Member of Congress today.
MAZON's Farm Bill Priorities
We call on legislators to pass a Farm Bill that protects against hunger by strengthening SNAP and other federal nutrition assistance programs—not one that adds to the problem. We will continue to oppose any policies that hurt single mothers, children, military families, older Americans, rural communities and working people.
Read MAZON's full 2018 Farm Bill Priorities here.
Quick Facts About Hunger (pdf)
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