Democrats Put Farm Bill Talks on Hold
Minority party says it can’t negotiate until it sees text and other info

House Agriculture ranking Democrat Collin C. Peterson says his party is done talking about the farm bill until the majority Republicans start sharing information. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For those tracking the farm bill, the top question this week is whether the House Agriculture Committee chairman and ranking member can reopen talks that stalled last week, after Democrats balked at possible cuts to the food stamp program.

Rep. Collin C. Peterson, the top committee Democrat, said Thursday he would heed his colleagues’ request that he stop negotiations until Chairman K. Michael Conaway gives members the text of the proposed farm bill, along with Congressional Budget Office cost estimates and impact assessments.

Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

Among the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force is continuing incentives for recipients to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Budget Deal's Fate Looks Good in Senate

Republican leaders, including Cornyn, right, walk Tuesday to meet the press. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | Senators feel confident a two-year budget deal that also lifts the debt limit before the Nov. 3 deadline has the necessary support.  

Leaders are looking at 1 a.m. early Friday for a cloture vote, but the exact time is still up in the air as senators negotiate a final agreement. Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters Thursday he was confident the deal would get the 60 votes required to advance, and that the expectation is a vote on final passage could come in the hours after the cloture vote Friday morning.  

Roberts, McConnell Announce Crop Insurance Fix

Roberts joined GOP leaders on the floor to discuss crop insurance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:57 p.m. | Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts has assurances from his leadership to reverse crop insurance cutbacks in the budget and debt limit deal that's currently on the Senate floor.  

"This commitment is in reference to the obvious need to remedy the language adversely affected our nation's farmers and ranchers now included in the bipartisan budget act," the Kansas Republican said Thursday.  

Crop Insurance Fix Likely Coming Down the Road

Cornyn says senators working to address crop insurance concerns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


Updated 5:07 p.m. | Farm-state lawmakers have been assured by leaders that a provision in the bipartisan budget deal that would trim the federal crop insurance subsidy program will be replaced down the road, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman John Thune confirmed Wednesday afternoon.  

Aderholt Prays on the Poultry Industry's Dime

Aderholt leaves a House Republican Conference meeting. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Agriculture Appropriations Chairman Robert B. Aderholt has broken bread for years at international prayer breakfasts, courtesy of trips paid for by a private foundation funded by an Arkansas poultry company.  

The Alabama Republican has visited Montenegro, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Colombia, Bolivia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Romania and Guatemala between 2008 and 2015 on the tab of the Fellowship Foundation, which does business as the International Foundation. Total cost: $60,000, according to a blog post by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.