Life Without a Farm Bill: What Happens Next

After a few weeks of negotiations between the House and the Senate on the Farm Bill, the 2014 Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2018, and a new version has not been passed by Congress.

Despite the stall, SNAP and TEFAP won’t see any effect until December 2018. However, many farmers that use subsidies funded through the Farm Bill will see the impact faster.

So, what does this mean?

The House of Representatives is currently out of session until after Election Day on November 6. This means we won’t see a new Farm Bill until then, at the earliest. However, the election can have very different consequences depending on whether the Republicans maintain their majority in the House or if the Democrats win enough seats to take back the majority.

If the Republicans maintain the majority in the House, look to see a continued stalemate between the House and the Senate when it comes to reconciling their differences on the SNAP work requirements. We may see an extension of the old Farm Bill before we see a new version of it.

If the Democrats win enough seats to take back the majority in the House, we’ll see a partnership between the House Dems and the Senate Dems to hold their position of no work requirements in the Farm Bill. With that said, we’re likely to see at least a one-year extension if this happens.

What can we do?

Right now, the only thing we can do is to continue educating our legislators about the need for a strong Farm Bill that protects SNAP and strengthens TEFAP. Once the election is over, we’ll be able to provide specific actions to ensure we help those in need.

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