The White House criticized the Senate farm bill for not tightening work requirements for food stamp recipients and omitting regulatory reform proposals, but the administration notably stopped short of threatening a presidential veto of the legislation.
A statement of administration policy issued Tuesday praised the bill for tightening the income eligibility limit for commodity subsidies and reducing the interest rate paid to rural electric cooperatives on an escrow fund managed by USDA.
But the relatively brief and mildly worded statement “encourages the Senate to include more farm safety net reforms” from President Donald Trump’s budget “that would better target payments to farmers who need them most.”
That could give a boost to proposed amendments that would tighten commodity payment eligibility further and to put a means test on crop insurance or to limit the amount of premium subsidies that producers can receive.
The Senate began debating the bill on Monday.
The statement also said the Senate bill “misses key opportunities to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Most notably, the bill does not strengthen work requirements for able-bodied working age adults.”
In addition, the White House faulted the bill for not including reforms to conservation programs and food aid that the administration has supported.
But the statement avoids any threat of a veto, saying instead, “The Administration looks forward to working with the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee to address these and other issues with the farm bill as the process moves forward.”