The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will not be cut as part of the farm bill’s reauthorization, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott, D-Ga., vowed at the Agri-Pulse annual Food & Policy Summit Monday.

During a virtual appearance at the event, Scott was adamant about the importance of SNAP, which accounts for about 80% of farm bill spending. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the 10-year cost of the next farm bill at about $1.5 trillion.

“The last thing we need to be talking about is trying to get people off of SNAP,” Scott said, referring to a bill introduced by fellow Ag Committee member Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., to extend work requirements under the program to individuals 50-65 years of age. The work requirements now apply to 18-49-year-olds.

Of the Republican proposal, Scott said, “They say they want to put in strict work requirements. We already have work requirements.”

“There is no way that we are going to accept any cuts in this program,” he said.

Asked how Congress can help farmers struggling with inflation and high input costs, Scott said farmers need direct support. “They have got to have the necessary funding to be able to handle these difficulties,” he said.

The House Ag Committee has formally asked the chamber's Budget Committee for “adequate resources” in the next farm bill, and a coalition of 400 ag groups pressed last week for “sufficient budgetary resources.”

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In a prerecorded interview aired at the event, House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., spoke in support of the farm bill's nutrition title, calling the SNAP program a valuable one. He did not endorse Johnson’s bill, saying simply, “Quite frankly, there's going to be proposals” surrounding SNAP.

As to the SNAP program’s integrity, Thompson said, “Based on what I've seen, I don't see a significant amount of (fraud).”

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