Biden, lawmakers to discuss Farm Bill amid debt limit crisis

Biden, lawmakers to discuss Farm Bill amid debt limit crisis

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — As Congress battles growing concerns over the U.S. debt limit, they’re wading into another high-stakes negotiation over the Farm Bill, and it could knock the crucial piece of legislation off track.

President Joe Biden will meet with top congressional leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees, including the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, at the White House on Thursday to discuss this year’s Farm Bill, Politico reports.

The meeting is expected to serve as an overview of the Farm Bill and how the debt ceiling impacts America’s farmers, and not necessarily become a big debate or controversy over the debt ceiling. But Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has said she wants to make known the impact of default on farmers.

The Farm Bill is a significant lifeline for rural states, but concerns remain over debt ceiling negotiations dragging on and delaying the passage of the bill as well as the impact of a possible default on farmers.

The $1 trillion Farm Bill sets food and agriculture spending for the next decade. Democrats remain concerned about debt ceiling talks and the impact on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

House Republicans are pushing significant spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, including expanding work requirements for SNAP benefit eligibility.

Lawmakers are also concerned about debt ceiling negotiations dragging, as significant agriculture programs are set to expire by the end of September if no Farm Bill deal gets reached.

More than 80% of the spending in this year’s farm bill goes to government programs for nutrition.

On Wednesday, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle spoke about the impact of default on rural Americans and the importance of finding a deal.

“Interest rates on all forms of credit would rise. Most farmers rely on access to credit to finance their operations while commodity prices would fall dramatically. USDA would most likely be unable to issue direct loans and loan guarantees,” Stabenow said. “Federal crop insurance would be heavily impacted in addition to the important food assistance programs for our seniors and children and families.”

“Iowans know better. They’re not being duped. They need the president to work this out with Kevin McCarthy,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). “We need to focus on reining in our spending at the same time easing the pressure on Americans’ pocketbooks.”

Biden is also expected to meet with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy again on Friday to discuss the debt ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen continues to stand firm on the June 1 timeframe for when the U.S. could default on its debt.

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