Before Memorial Day, the House Committee on Agriculture will consider a farm bill that responds to a variety of crisis points, constituent priorities, needs of rural communities, and the demands of the current economy, both domestically and abroad.

Within this bill—an opportunity that only presents itself once every five years or so—is significant investment in families that have either been left out, left behind, or left voiceless, all of whom will now benefit from our nation’s nutrition safety net, namely, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

These provisions are not a political game nor a negotiating tactic. This is a policy built to enact positive change for families in need. But these changes cost money, and I have worked steadfast to develop a funding framework to enable the opportunity for them to occur.

The Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) is the lowest cost of four food plans produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It represents the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost-effective diet prepared at home for a reference family of four, which is defined in law as an adult male and female, ages 20-50, and two children, ages 6-8 and 9-11. Simply, this food plan is the metric used to determine SNAP benefits.

For decades, this methodology was cost-neutral, meaning that while relevant metrics were used, the market basket was neutralized, which disallowed any arbitrary increase to the SNAP benefit.

The 2018 Farm Bill mandated the Secretary of Agriculture reevaluate and publish the market baskets of the Thrifty Food Plan every five years based on current food prices, food composition data, consumption patterns, and dietary guidance. Before this mandate, the TFP had only been updated in 1983, 1999, and 2006. Most importantly, this provision, grounded in 40 years of precedent, was expected to remain cost-neutral, affirmed by both the Congressional Budget Office and USDA.

However, in 2021, President Biden upended four decades of history and singlehandedly enacted a $256 billion increase in SNAP spending over a ten-year period. This not only violated the Congressional Review Act but brought about the first-ever trillion-dollar farm bill.

And while there are varied opinions on how to correct—or even erase—this egregious Executive abuse, I want to move forward. We do that by ensuring no administration, Republican or Democrat, has such latitude to indiscriminately expand or decimate the benefit.

Because what folks do not understand is that if one side can expand it, it is equally easy for the other side to reduce it.

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The 2024 Farm Bill will reassert Congressional intent by prescribing a cost-neutral process while taking into consideration food prices and composition, consumption patterns, and dietary guidance. SNAP benefits will continue to be annually updated to reflect inflation. To be clear, House Republicans are not cutting, decreasing, or impacting SNAP benefits or eligibility for them.

Inside-the-beltway advocates will have you believe families in five, ten, or 100 years will suffer at the hands of this proposal. I have done the math; their hypothetical hysteria is over no more than $6.00.

So, while Democrats and their messaging proxies will continue to turn their backs on families in need, I am going to use this proposal and the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis to invest in a suite of priorities that promote access to SNAP, program integrity, financial independence, and health.

We will support access to families formerly disallowed to receive benefits, update work programs that support individuals in building career pathways without fear of losing benefits, invest and modernize food distribution programs, focus on rural communities so there is equitable access to their urban counterparts, and advance policies related to healthy eating, healthy behaviors, and healthy outcomes.

While the sea of misinformation remains endless, this is the right policy at the right time.

About the author: Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Pa., is the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.