Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees met for more than an hour at the White House Thursday evening with President Joe Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss enacting a new farm bill.

In an interview with Agri-Pulse after the meeting, the top Republican on Senate Ag, John Boozman of Arkansas, described the discussion as “very, very cordial” but somewhat general in nature.

“We essentially agreed how important getting the farm bill done was,” Boozman said. “We talked about providing adequate resources for it. … We also talked about meeting again in the not-too-distant future.”

Boozman said the discussion didn’t get into specifics of possible funding sources or even whether more money was needed for the bill.

Boozman said the debt ceiling issue came up “in passing” during the meeting. Congressional Republicans are pressuring Biden to agree to slash federal spending in exchange for GOP votes to raise the debt ceiling.

Vilsack told the lawmakers he was “committed to working with us and helping any way he could,” Boozman said.

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In a joint statement issued after the meeting, Boozman and the other three committee leaders — Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., House Ag Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., and House Ag ranking Democrat David Scott, D-Ga. — said they discussed “the importance of passing a bipartisan Farm Bill this year. The Farm Bill is a jobs bill. It is a safety net for farmers and consumers, and it is an investment in our rural communities and the health of the American people.

"The Agriculture Committees have a long tradition of bipartisan cooperation, and we look forward to continuing that tradition through our work on the 2023 Farm Bill.”  

Also in the meeting, according to the White House, were Biden's deputy chief of staff, Bruce Reed, and Louisa Terrell, director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.

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