Republicans turn up pressure on farm bill ‘conservation cliff’

By Marc Heller | 03/14/2024 06:38 AM EDT

Senate Agriculture Committee Republicans say diverting billions from the Inflation Reduction Act would help conservation programs in the long run.

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.).

Senate Agriculture ranking member John Boozman (R-Ark.) during a hearing. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee doubled down Wednesday on their proposal to steer billions of dollars away from Democrats’ signature climate bill to help cover the rising cost of a new five-year farm bill.

In a blog poston its website, the minority side of the committee said roughly $13 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act’s conservation provisions could be moved into the new farm bill to help boost conservation programs indefinitely — a theme the panel’s ranking member, Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, has been pushing for months as talks on the bill stall.

“There is a bipartisan solution to the conservation cliff,” the post said, using the term Republican lawmakers have attached to the IRA’s provisions that expire in 2031. “Moving IRA funds into the farm bill could represent a historic bipartisan investment to help farmers, ranchers, foresters, conservationists, and other stakeholders meet their local conservation needs.”


Quirks in congressional budgeting mean that money rescinded from the Inflation Reduction Act and moved into the farm bill would become part of the Congressional Budget Office’s long-term calculations for conservation programs, the paper said.