Appropriations Bill Wins for Farmers Markets & Farm Bill Update
Posted On: March 23, 2018
by Ben Feldman, FMC Policy Specialist | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday, the House passed a $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018, which now needs to pass the Senate before Friday to avoid another government shutdown. Funding for key farmers market programs such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program, remain commensurate with past years.
While here at FMC we would favor increased funding for these programs, this result represents an important win for these programs considering they were largely targeted for elimination in the Presidential budget proposals for both Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019. Last week a group of 42 members of Congress sent a letter to the House Appropriations committee arguing for sustained funding for the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program for FY18 and FY19.
After talk all winter that the House of Representatives, would introduce a draft of the farm bill in the first quarter of the year, negotiations on the farm bill have ground to a halt in the House after Democrats on the Agriculture Committee demanded to see the full text of the bill before negotiating further. Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway had been negotiating with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Collin Peterson on changes to the SNAP program. Democrats made it clear that they opposed the SNAP proposal that had been described to them, and wanted the full text and CBO score of the bill before restarting negotiations. After Democrats refused to back down, Chairman Conway announced his intention to pursue a partisan bill without the support of democrats.
On the Senate side, things are starting to move after months of waiting and indications are positive for a bipartisan bill. Both Chairman Pat Robertson and ranking member Debbie Stabenow have indicated that they want to move forward with a bill that has a broad coalition of support and without the type of changes to SNAP proposed in the house.