The new Congress rekindled a dispute left over from last year’s farm bill debate as House Republicans sought to protect USDA’s move to tighten work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Agriculture Department is closing county Farm Service Agency offices after Friday and will suspend publication of some new reports and take others offline with the partial government shutdown set to drag into the new year.
The Trump administration is moving to make it much harder for states and localities to get waivers from the work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for able-bodied adults without dependents.
Along with providing food to struggling low-income families, USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has increasingly focused on developing new ways to help SNAP beneficiaries graduate from SNAP by finding stable jobs.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Monday he would recommend President Donald Trump sign the new farm bill that congressional negotiators agreed on even though it wouldn’t tighten work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Farm groups welcomed news that negotiators had reached agreement on a new farm bill, but key details were being kept under wraps while lawmakers waited to learn whether the final cost estimates would force them to tweak the text.
Farm bill negotiators are struggling to work out deals on forestry regulations, commodity program eligibility rules and other issues with a goal of finalizing an agreement that Congress can vote on before adjourning in December.