House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden reached an agreement in principle Saturday on raising the debt ceiling that would reportedly expand work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

No details of the agreement were released publicly Saturday night, but McCarthy told reporters the bill would provide “consequential reforms that will lift people out of poverty into the workforce” as well as “historic reductions in spending." The deal also would “rein in government overreach," he said.

According to multiple media reports, the maximum age for SNAP work requirements would be increased from 49 to 54, but there would be new exemptions for the homeless and veterans. The House-passed Limit, Save and Grow Act would have raised the age to 55 with no exemptions for homeless people or veterans.

Under existing rules, able-boded adults without dependents between 18 and 49 can only get SNAP benefits for three months during a three-year period unless they are working or in an approved training program for at least 80 hours or month. 

Advocates of expanding the work requirements had argued that dealing with the issue in the debt ceiling negotiations would take the issue off the table during upcoming deliberations on a new farm bill, potentially removing a major obstacle to moving that legislation. 

The Biden-McCarthy deal also would leave intact the Inflation Reduction Act tax incentives that would have been repealed by the GOP debt ceiling bill, according to reports. Those incentives included a new clean fuels tax credit that would vary in value depending on a biofuel's carbon intensity. 

The Wall Street Journal and other outlets said non-defense spending would be held flat in 2024 under the deal and increased by 1% in fiscal 2025. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., told CNN's state of the Union that House conservatives would vote for the agreement "overwhelmingly."

"When you're saying that conservatives have concerns, it is really the most colorful conservatives," Johnson said.

Don’t miss a beat! It’s easy to sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! For the latest on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and around the country in agriculture, just click here.

Biden said in a statement that the agreement was “an important step forward that reduces spending while protecting critical programs for working people and growing the economy for everyone. And, the agreement protects my and Congressional Democrats’ key priorities and legislative accomplishments.”

He said the deal “prevents what could have been a catastrophic default and would have led to an economic recession, retirement accounts devastated, and millions of jobs lost. Over the next day, our negotiating teams will finalize legislative text and the agreement will go to the United States House and Senate. I strongly urge both chambers to pass the agreement right away.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce quickly endorsed the agreement and urged lawmakers to support it.  

“Federal leaders should use this opportunity to limit out-of-control spending to avoid simply passing on the issue to future generations,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark said in a statement. “Members of Congress must finish the job and send the bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law without delay.”

In a tweet criticizing the deal, Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., confirmed the agreement would provide an increase to the debt limit that would last until early 2025. Bishop said McCarthy got “almost zippo” in exchange for that. 

For more news, go to