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In the United States, tensions escalated within Congress over farm spending priorities, hindering progress on the American Farm Bill negotiations.
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Tensions rise as Congress grapples with farm spending priorities 

United States: Despite climate-friendly farming and food security priorities, Congress sadly bounces on political barriers between members in the American Farm Bill. Even as negotiations continue amidst Republican internecine fighting, the common ground remains evasive, leaving the fate of crucial agricultural and conservation policies in limbo. 

The spending bill in which Congress is currently negotiating farm expenditures requires that funding for environmentally friendly farming and federal food benefits of the same will still be viable votes to Democrats, as revealed from reports through Democratic leaders onto House’s farm committee. 

Democratic Standpoint 

The American Farm Bill is passed every five years and supports federal agriculture, nutrition programs requiring supplemental income, and conservation measures. The bill lapsed in September and was extended for one year by November’s spending deal, as reported by the Associated Press. 

Republican In-Fighting Hinders Bipartisanship 

Although historically a bipartisan effort, progress on the bill has been stalled by Republican in-fighting within Congress and between parties who disagree over spending priorities, including $18 billion for climate-friendly farming methods from President Joe Biden’s signature climate law – Inflation Reduction Act. 

On Tuesday, David Scott spoke to reporters and stated that the representatives of Democrats will not vote for a farm bill that redistributes IRA climate funds or limits federal food aid programs. 

“Legislation always requires some degree of compromise, but we will not compromise on our principles,” he said. 

Democrats promised to oppose any more reductions to nutrition benefits for low-income individuals after Republicans achieved cuts to food aid in a spending agreement last June.

Democratic Objectives 

According to a letter provided to reporters, other House Democratic objectives include: 

  • Reducing input costs for farmers. 
  • Promoting renewable energy initiatives. 
  • Improving training and scholarships for small-scale farmers of minorities. 

Ranking member of the farm commodities subcommittee, Shontel Brown, said some bipartisan negotiations were underway. 

Democrats Release Principles for the Next Farm Bill 

“After months of Republican discord and disorder delaying the passage of the farm bill, the principles document presents an honest assessment of where House Democrats are on farm bill policy and offers our Republican colleagues an unambiguous and straightforward path to passing a strong, effective, and bipartisan farm bill,” said Ranking Member David Scott. 

“Americans are counting on Congress to get a Farm Bill done; it’s America’s safety net. It bolsters our agricultural economy and ensures no American goes hungry. These principles reflect an effective roadmap that will grow the global competitiveness of American agriculture,” said Rep. Jim Costa, Ranking Member of the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee. 

  

 “For years, we’ve worked to gather input from producers on the ground in districts like mine in Virginia and get a bipartisan Farm Bill across the finish line. As a committee, we’ve engaged in good-faith negotiations to make sure our efforts are responsive to the needs of crop and livestock producers across our country.  

As the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Research, and Biotechnology, I share our firm commitment to protecting historic conservation funding, strengthening opportunities for producers, and moving a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill to the President’s desk. We have made clear all along the necessary steps to accomplish this goal — and we are united at the negotiating table,” said Rep. Abigail Span Berger, Ranking Member of the Conservation, Research, and Biotechnology Subcommittee. 

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