Republicans get bad news on farm bill budget savings

By Marc Heller | 06/21/2024 06:44 AM EDT

The Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates haven’t resolved a dispute over how to pay for the 2024 farm bill.

House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.).

House Agriculture Chair Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) at the Capitol this year. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees sparred over how to pay for the next five-year farm bill, after the Congressional Budget Office stuck with financial estimates that challenge House Republican assumptions.

In its latest budget estimates for the 2024 to 2034 period, the CBO projected that the Department of Agriculture will spend $12 billion from the discretionary authority the secretary has over the Commodity Credit Corp. — or far less than the $50 billion in savings that House Republicans say they can squeeze for use in the farm bill by limiting that authority.

The budget technicalities could prove crucial to House Agriculture Chair Glenn Thompson’s plan to pay for the farm bill that passed his committee largely along party lines in May. Four Democrats on the committee supported the bill.


“Today’s updated projections from CBO prove what we have been saying all along: The House Republican Farm Bill is unpaid-for, relying on magic math and wishful thinking,” Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said in a news release Tuesday.