How Republican House Will Affect Farm Bill 2023

It’s official, the GOP garnered the 218 seats needed to control the House, ushering in an era of divided government and a check on the Biden administration agenda. Most look for Biden to increase his use of executive orders and regulations to fulfill some other goals.

The End of an Era
It took several GOP House races in liberal California to get the Republicans to 218 votes. A few more House races need to be called so the GOP majority number could rise. The majority will hand Republicans control of committees.

The Fate of the Farm Bill
With the majority transition now set in stone, a timeline for any new farm bill in 2023 largely rests with the House and depends on the funding level for food and nutrition, which takes up around 85% of all farm bill spending.

If Republicans, who control the House, get too aggressive on altering the food stamp program, history shows this is not how to get a farm bill enacted. With the GOP in control of the House, many veteran farm bill observers signal a one-year extension, largely due to the work new leadership must do relative to hearings, etc.

The Senate Ag Committee will be led by current Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) who is a veteran of getting farm bills over the finish line and to her liking. In the House, the new Ag Panel Leader is Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.).

The GOP caucus contains more than a few conservative activists who have made prior farm bills difficult to be completed. While some will not say it publicly, veteran farm bill watchers believe the House will run out of time in 2023 because of the need for hearings and to gear up new members and their staffs on the complexities of farm policy.

Thompson has made it clear he wants a bill in 2023 and wants the House to consider it by the August congressional recess. Look for Thompson to push early action via hearings and other matters early in 2023.

Top Ag Panel Farm Bill Objectives
G.T. Thompson, Ag Panel Leader, recently shared his highest priority farm bill objectives with AgriTalk:

Internet Access: The Bipartisan Infrastucture Law was signed into action. It dedicates $759 million to help redeploy the rural broadband program and provide Internet access to rural areas. “Rural broadband is still the No. 1 needed utility that we have infrastructure needs for in this country,” Thompson said.

Crop Insurance: Improvements are needed and members of Congress need to be educated about just how important the program is. “We have to protect crop insurance by learning from our disaster experiences and improve it,” Thompson said.

Passage: Thompson reiterated that the committee will need to work in a “very intense” way in order to prevent the legislation from expiring and “kicking the can down the road.” To avoid any delays, Thompson reiterated his urgency, and drive for bipartisanship is his “commitment.”