BPC Action Calls for Committee Passage of Senate Farm Bill in Agriculture, Infrastructure

Washington, DC – “BPC Action commends the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry for its work to reauthorize the farm bill in a bipartisan manner, and calls upon members of the committee to support the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

“BPC Action applauds inclusion in the legislation of several critical rural infrastructure programs including the Water, Waste Disposal and Wastewater Facility Grants that cover much needed pre-development costs. We also call on the committee to pass two amendments by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO):

  1. Require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct a study on how best to bundle rural infrastructure projects. The bundling of projects could potentially reduce costs and increase environmental compliance.
  2. Authorize a study of how to improve and streamline the application process for USDA programs. We hope the committee will pass this common-sense amendment.

“Several elements of this bill support and align with recommendations by the Bipartisan Policy Center Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Task Force, including that the nutrition title of the bill was drafted such that it could gain broad support, and that the SNAP-Education and Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant programs will receive full funding.

“BPC Action recommends two improvements to the current bill:

  1. Make diet quality a core objective of SNAP, with periodic reporting to Congress by the USDA on efforts it has undertaken to improve the diet quality of SNAP participants and the impacts of those efforts.
  2. To improve SNAP program design, collect store-level data on SNAP purchases and make that data available to state SNAP agencies, with appropriate protections for individual participants. The data should also be used by USDA to regularly produce summary reports. The House Agriculture Committee passed Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 contains a section (H.R. 2 Sect. 4026) which would establish a system for collecting smaller samples of store-level data and summary reporting.

“We commend the bipartisan leadership of Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on their hard work to strike the appropriate bipartisan balance in the 2018 farm bill. We look forward to seeing this bill – with additional provisions to improve the processes for rural infrastructure projects and improve nutrition in SNAP – enacted into law this year.