After months of waiting for the Farm Bill to be finalized, the House of Representatives finds itself in a lame duck session. Because the House Republicans lost the majority they had after the November elections, the current Farm Bill negotiators are working around the clock to ensure they strike a deal before the 116th Congress.
Earlier this month, I would have said we should expect some negotiation on SNAP work requirements. Especially since President Trump has reiterated he would veto any Farm Bill without any SNAP work requirements, which could signal a long road ahead for negotiators from the House and the Senate.
However, we’ve heard multiple reports that the lame duck session has resulted in a Farm Bill without any SNAP work requirements 1. Additionally, USDA has mentioned “cracking down” on work requirement waivers that states can enact. During the Recession, the vast majority of state exercised this ability to waive work requirements for SNAP recipients, but re-implemented them after the economy picked up. Florida was among those states that re-implemented the requirements.
Next Steps: Expect Congress to take up the Farm Bill early next week (2nd week of December). If the Farm Bill protects SNAP as it currently stands and provides adequate funding for TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), then expect to see support for the bill from food banks.