Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Wednesday the debate over SNAP work requirements should take place during the farm bill debate, not as an issue for negotiations over the government’s debt ceiling.

Speaking to members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Stabenow also noted that the programs’ existing work requirements will go back into effect in July with the end of the public health emergency. The requirements were suspended at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

“The debate should be on the farm bill, and I would love it if they (Republicans) started with understanding that we already have strict work requirements,” Stabenow said.

Stabenow was followed at the NAFB event by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa. The two leaders embraced, and Stabenow said, “This is the team, this is the team that’s going to get it done.”

Thompson described his relationship with Stabenow as “Team Ag.”

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Stabenow appeared to have a much more contentious relationship with Thompson’s predecessor, retired Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas.

Thompson has a different take than Stabenow when it comes to the GOP strategy when it comes to SNAP work requirements. He told Agri-Pulse on Tuesday that strategy potentially keeps the SNAP issue from bogging down the farm bill.

Thompson stressed to the NAFB members that he also has close relationships with Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, top Republican on Senate Ag, and Georgia Rep. David Scott, the senior Democrat on House Ag.

Thompson said Boozman was a “mentor of mine” when they both served in the House. Thompson described Scott as “a good friend, great colleague. I was proud to support him when he was chairman.”

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