The farm bill funding squeeze is worse than many expected on the heels of a recent Congressional Budget Office estimate of SNAP spending over the next ten years.
The CBO had already pegged USDA’s ten-year SNAP spending hike at a quarter of a trillion dollars, setting off ‘alarm bells’ for farm bill writers. Then CBO upped its projection based on USDA’s administrative power to further update SNAP benefits under the Thrifty Food Plan food basket.
Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst; “A lot of us are very shocked at the CBO score that came out, and the CBO had raised its cost estimate for SNAP by 93 billion over the next ten years.”
Bringing the total food stamp hike to one-third of a trillion dollars through 2034, signaling a slow return to normal levels. USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Stacy Dean; “I do expect that we will see SNAP return back, as we see participation fall in response to a stronger economy. That does take longer amongst low-income households. We saw that after the Great Recession, too.”
Not good enough for Indiana Republican Senator Mike Braun; “The Thrifty Food Plan increased by over 21-percent, and it’s now going to shove the farm bill into a trillion dollar trajectory over the next ten years. I think for anybody listening out there, it’s unsustainable.”
Just 18 percent of the next farm bill is now expected to go to farm-related programs, the rest for nutrition, and Braun argues farmers are the ones who produce the nation’s food.