House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson prepares to release the text of his draft farm bill as he seeks to lure some Democratic votes for the legislation ahead of the panel’s May 23 debate.

Thompson released extensive new details of the legislation Friday in the form of a 32-page section-by-section summary. The actual text of the bill, however, has not been finalized, although commodity groups were briefed on the key details Thursday, including the individual modifications to Price Loss Coverage reference prices for individual commodities. 

The summary says only that the reference prices would be increased by 10% to 20%, depending on the commodity. PLC triggers payments in years when the average market price for a commodity is below its reference price.

In an open letter that accompanied the summary on a new web site for farm bill information, Thompson, R-Pa., suggested he was open to last-minute modifications, saying “my door remains open.” Thompson’s staff has been working to sell some Democrats on the legislation in hopes of making it bipartisan out of committee.

Thompson said his bill was “written for these precarious times and is reflective of the diverse constituency and narrow margins of the 118th Congress. Each title takes into consideration the varying opinions of all who produce as much as those who consume. It is not one-sided, it does not favor a fringe agenda, and it certainly does no harm to the programs and policies that feed, fuel, and clothe our nation. 

“There exists a few, loud armchair critics that want to divide the Committee and break the process. A farm bill has long been an example of consensus, where both sides must take a step off the soapbox and have tough conversations.”

Those armchair critics may include Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who released the summary of her draft bill on May 1. A planned meeting between Stabenow and Democratic members of the House committee on Thursday was postponed when the House cancelled votes for the rest of the week.

This Wednesday, three Democrats on the House Ag Committee will hold a news conference to call for keeping climate-related restrictions on the Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding when it’s brought into the farm bill. 

The three Democrats are Chellie Pingree of Maine, who chairs the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Climate and Agriculture Task Force, and SEEC members Nikki Budzinski of Illinois and Andrea Salinas of Oregon. Salinas is one of eight Democrats on the committee whose races are classified by the Cook Political Report as either toss-ups or only slightly favoring the incumbents.

Also this week, senior Biden administration officials will continue trekking to Capitol Hill to face questioning from lawmakers. The officials include EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who will appear before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday. Lina Khan, who has led the Federal Trade Commission, in taking on consolidation in the supermarket industry and other sectors, will appear before the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday.

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Also Wednesday, the Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2025 budget request for the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, which manage and construct water projects important to agriculture.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the monthly Consumer Price Index on Wednesday. The index for food eaten at home was unchanged for in March for the second straight month as lower prices for dairy and grain products offset higher costs for beef, pork, chicken and eggs. However, the overall CPI rose 0.4% in March for the second straight month, driven by higher costs for housing and gasoline

Here is a list of agriculture- or rural-related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):

Monday, May 13

4 p.m. – USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report.

Tuesday, May 14

Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week, through Thursday, Park Hyatt.

10 a.m. – Farm Foundation Forum, “Global Ag Trade and Sustainability: Gaps and Opportunities.”

10 a.m. – House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Federal Communications Commission, 2359 Rayburn.

Wednesday, May 15

8:30 a.m. – Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Consumer Price Index.

10 a.m. – House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing with EPA Administrator Michael Regan, 2123 Rayburn.

10 a.m. – House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Federal Trade Commission, 2359 Rayburn.

10 a.m. – The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Climate and Agriculture Task Force holds press conference on the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate-related funding and the farm bill, House Triangle.

10 a.m. – Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, 138 Dirksen.

Thursday, May 16

8:30 a.m. – USDA releases Weekly Export Sales report.

9:30 a.m. – House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party hearing, "All Roads Leading to Beijing? The CCP's Global Development Offensive," HVC-210 Capitol.

10 a.m. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the U.S. Forest Service, 366 Dirksen.

10 a.m. – Senate Finance Committee hearing on rural health care, 215 Dirksen.

Friday, May 17

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