Focus to shift from debt to Farm Bill work in Congress

Market to Market | Clip
Jun 2, 2023 | 2 min

The debt ceiling deal is done… at least until January of 2025. 

Congress now will spend much of the summer in recess. 

But there is one bill rural and urban Americans are watching closely and hoping for action - - the 1 trillion dollar Farm Bill.

David Miller reports.



The House and Senate have kept a full schedule of hearings for the next Farm Bill which is set to expire this year.  

Tom Sell is co-founder of Combest, Sell and Associates, a Washington D.C. - based lobbying firm specializing in agricultural issues. Sell believes the bipartisan history of the Farm Bill appears to be alive and well. 

Tom Sell/Co-Founder Combast, Sell and Associates: “So now with that taken care of in this debt ceiling deal, I'm hopeful that it just creates this wake or a little pathway for the Farm Bill to go through where we're really going to focus on the farm safety net. That's, that's kind of where the  leaders on both sides have said they want to, they want to build consensus.”

Sell, says Title One of the Farm Bill provides a reliable safety net and gives some certainty to farmers and taxpayers. 

According to Sell, who worked on the 2002 Farm Bill as a House staff member, while spending on nutrition assistance has grow from half to more than 80 percent of the total farm bill price tag, money spent on the safety net is not keeping pace with the growth in SNAP. Sell adds this could cause further challenges in the near future. 

Tom Sell: “If we have a weak safety net, we're going to end up having to do ad hoc bills, again, for the next pandemic, or the next trade war with China or the next, you know, kind of massive  area of where Mother Nature, you know wreaks havoc. If we have a strong safety net, we can control that spending and take care of it all through the Farm Bill. But if we have a weak Farm Bill, we're going to be back to the ad hoc mix So let's try and build some of that dollars in.”

The 2023 version of the bill may come out of committee sooner rather than later, potentially by late summer. 

For Market to Market, I’m David Miller.