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Eye on the 2023 Farm Bill

Washington, DC | The $428 billion Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334) – more commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill – expired on September 30, 2023. The Farm Bill’s twelve titles provide funding guidelines for a range of food and agriculture programs, including price and income support, crop insurance/disaster assistance, nutrition assistance, conservation, research, rural development and energy. Many Farm Bill programs operate on a calendar year basis so legislators have until December 31st to reauthorize the Farm Bill for 4-5 years or extend the current Farm Bill.

Progress on the Farm Bill reauthorization was impacted by the lack of House Speaker for three weeks. Congress must now address FY24 appropriations (by November 17th or pass another continuing resolution) and the new Speaker has indicated his intention that the House should pass a Farm Bill this calendar year. The Senate must also pass a Farm Bill, and only after both the House and Senate have passed their respective bills can the conference process begin, perhaps in early 2024. Below is a roundup of recent Congressional developments and upcoming events the committees are working on.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 30, 2023

- The Senate Committee on Agriculture does not have any scheduled hearings this week.

- The House Committee on Agriculture does not have any scheduled hearings this week.

ICYMI – WEEK OF OCTOBER 23, 2023

- Mike Johnson Elected Speaker, Outlines Ambitious Legislative Agenda. On October 25, the House voted 220-209 to elect Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) to the office of Speaker of the House. In the lead up to his election, he distributed a Dear Colleague Letter outlining his legislative priorities and agenda for 2023 and 2024. In the upcoming months, Speaker Johnson intends to facilitate the passage of appropriations packages with the potential for another Continuing Resolution to prevent a government shutdown through January or April. Additionally, Speaker Johnson calls for the House passage of a Farm Bill in December with negotiations to begin as soon as possible.

- 60 House Republicans call on Speaker Mike Johnson to pass farm bill. On October 26, 60 House Republicans representing agriculture states sent a letter to Speaker Johnson urging him to consider the Farm Bill as a critical agenda item. They emphasized how farm and food security is national security, further demonstrating the need for the swift passage of a strong Farm Bill.

- Chairwoman Stabenow Highlights the Importance of Passing a Bipartisan Farm Bill on the Senate Floor. On October 25, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) took to the Senate Floor to discuss the importance of passing a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill. In her speech, she highlighted key provisions of the Farm Bill and how they benefit farmers, Americans living in rural areas, and the entire country. At the end of her speech, she reiterated that it would be “irresponsible” to allow programs in the farm safety net to lapse and revert to Depression Era policy in January, but that the bill is taking longer than expected. Chairwoman Stabenow did not offer a more specific timeline, but she conceded that an extension will be necessary.

- Stabenow, Boozman Applaud Support for American Farmers Through New Investments in Trade Promotion and Food Assistance. On October 24, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member, applauded the announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will use its authorities under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to provide $2.3 billion to invest in trade promotion and in-kind international food assistance, both of which support American farmers and producers.

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