Last week, the Nutrition Working Group convened to discuss the House’s nutrition title bill that would look to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Based on signals from members of the Working Group, it appears that a bill will not be brought to the floor this week. If this is the case, this means that the House will still not have a nutrition title to include in the conferencing of the Farm Bill before leaving for the month-long August recess. Thus, the Republican leadership will look to further stall the start of formal conferencing proceedings, which Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) continues to call for, especially after the Senate sent its bill to the House to start the conferencing process nearly two weeks ago. A stall of formal proceedings may also make it more difficult for the Republican leadership to address growing frustrations and pressures within its own party, particularly Republican members with agriculture interests who must answer to their constituents in August about Congress potentially letting the Farm Bill expire again on September 30. For example, last week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) publicly remarked that the House should formally move on conferencing the Farm Bill this week, even if no nutrition title bill is considered before the August recess. Currently, informal staff discussions between the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on the Farm Bill are occurring behind the scenes.
Senate Agriculture Committee Changes.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) has returned to the Senate Agriculture Committee following former Sen. Mo Cowan’s (D-MA) departure from the Senate with the election of Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA).
This Week’s Hearings:
- Wednesday, July 31: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled “Energy Drinks and Marketing to Youth.”