The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee on Friday accused the panel’s majority Republicans of “abandoning bipartisanship” to push through a farm bill next month that will include restrictions on nutrition assistance and the Commodity Credit Corporation that are unacceptable to Democrats.

In an op-ed Friday for Agri-Pulse, Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., said Republicans are following the “same partisan ideological strategy that led to the failures of farm bills on the House floor in 2014 and 2018.”

Scott goes on, “House Republicans have a choice: they can walk back from the precipice and work with Democrats on a commonsense, compromise approach that achieves a bipartisan farm bill — or they can continue the politics of division which has a proven record of failing to get anything done. American agriculture deserves more than promises.”

Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., has proposed to put restrictions on how USDA can conduct future updates of the Thrifty Food Plan, a model of food costs that is used to adjust Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

While Thompson argues the proposal wouldn’t cut SNAP benefits, it could slow the growth of future benefits. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the provisions would save $30 billion over 10 years.

In the op-ed, Scott also rejects what he says is Thompson’s plan to restrict USDA’s use of its Commodity Credit Corporation spending authority. Thompson plans to use savings from a CCC provision to pay for modifications to commodity programs and crop insurance. He hasn't provided details of the proposal.

CCC funding has been “used to support farmers during hard times, including providing payments for livestock and crop production losses resulting from natural disasters, keeping farmers afloat during trade wars, and ensuring our agricultural system could weather a global pandemic,” Scott wrote.

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“Agriculture Committee Democrats want a bipartisan farm bill that invests in critical farm safety net programs without eliminating the Secretary’s ability to use the CCC when our farmers need it.”

In a response to Scott’s op-ed, Thompson said in a statement it is “unfortunate committee Democratic leadership are negotiating in the press. What matters is whether Democrats want to participate in a farm bill, and we haven’t heard from minority leadership in weeks.

“This is the first time we’ve heard of their opposition to the CCC pay-for or promotion of the farm safety net. They still have no plan, and that’s why their rank-and-file members are upset.”

Thompson reiterated this week that he plans to move a farm bill through the committee next month before Memorial Day.

Thompson defended the Thrifty Food Plan proposal in an op-ed on Tuesday. “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," he wrote. 

Scott said of the TFP plan, ‘A bipartisan farm bill could succeed in a way that helps our farmers and the families they feed, but Republicans have refused that approach and continue to insist on their SNAP benefit cuts.”

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