Amid some tension in the House last Thursday over the continued trouble regarding immigration, and the failed vote on the more conservative of the immigration fix bills, the House also voted on H.R. 2 – the Agriculture and Nutrition Act. The bill covered a wide array of topics, as so many in Washington do these days, covering everything from pesticide regulations to work requirements for SNAP benefits.
The Republican delegation in Georgia was unanimous in its support of the bill. Every Democrat in Georgia, and in the House overall, voted against the bill in protest for the SNAP changes. The bill requires able-bodied adults who are not responsible for children aged 6 or younger to work at least 20 hours a week to keep their benefits. Eligibility requirements are also tightened and some SNAP funding is shifted to work-related programs.
“As we continue to see our economy grow with over six million available jobs in this country, H.R. 2 provides those currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with opportunities to prepare for gainful employment through education, training, or transitioning straight into the workforce, an opportunity that should be available to all Americans,” said Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA 12). “I believe that this generation has more opportunities than any before, and I will continue to stand firmly with rural America to implement policies that will allow all to achieve the American Dream.”
The bill also maintains and improves Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) through 2023. It allows farmers to make a new election between the two programs and the bill also protects crop insurance programs. Specialty crops also get some attention in the bill, maintaining funding levels for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA 1) talked about the impact farmers. “As Georgia’s top industry, the hard work of our farmers, ranchers, and producers significantly contributes to the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world,” said Carter. “I voted for this legislation today because it provides critical support and long-term certainty that our agricultural community needs and deserves. It is an honor to represent a large part of Georgia’s agricultural community, and I am committed to fighting for Georgia’s farmers and this industry that is responsible for one in seven jobs in our state.”
The bill is a win for Georgia’s biggest industry, agribusiness, something perhaps often overlooked by many in metro Atlanta – far away from the farms. It’s decidedly not overlooked by the politicians at the capitol, both in Atlanta and in Washington.
“Georgia’s number one industry is agribusiness, which contributes more than $73 billion to our state’s economy,” said Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA 14). “This bill sets a pro-farm, America-First agriculture policy through 2023. It strengthens the programs that protect and support the Georgians who work hard every day to put food on our tables. It also cuts and streamlines regulations to make sure our farmers and ranchers are competitive in the global marketplace.”