Political Not Practical: Sec. Vilsack slams House Farm Bill plan

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is calling on the House Ag Committee to go back to the drawing board over the Farm Bill. He calls their framework political, not practical.

Vilsack told reporters this week that their bill is funded by gimmicks and likely will not get a majority vote in either chamber. He takes issue with their nutrition plans and restricts the Commodity Credit Corporation’s spending authority. Vilsack says House ag lawmakers will likely be working with a deficit in their current plan. However, ag leaders argue the Congressional Budget Office has not made proper spending estimates.

Despite those calls for more attention to the House plan, one cotton group is proud of the bipartisan work on the Farm Bill, and they remain confident it will get passed before the year is over.

“I’m certainly very optimistic that we’ll get a Farm Bill done before the conclusion of the 2024 calendar year. As you mentioned, Chairman GT Thompson and the House Agricultural Committee as a whole made yeoman’s work, and they unveiled and marked up their bill back in the late portion of May – certainly, a commitment that he had made very in advance that they would get their version done early on. It was bipartisan: that’s one thing that gets very dismissed in a lot of the news outlets across the U.S. There were a handful of Democrats that did support it in the final version that was marked up, which I think gives a testament to what they’re doing and trying to be supportive of,” said Kody Bessent, CEO of Plains Cotton Growers.

Work will be on pause for a little while after this week as most lawmakers will be leaving the Hill for their home districts to celebrate the Fourth of July.