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House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) has scheduled a markup of Republicans’ new farm bill – the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 – on Thursday.

What to expect in the farm bill markup

The House Agriculture Committee will markup its $1.5 trillion farm bill proposal today.

The nearly 1,000-page-long bill would set a five-year reauthorization for critical farm, food safety and nutrition programs.

House Republicans are desperately trying to pass the bill with bipartisan support, but there’s still plenty of Democratic opposition over GOP-proposed freezes to SNAP payments and changes to environmental and conservation programs.

In other words, there’s a lot at stake both for policy and politics. Here’s what we’re focusing on.

GOP wooing: House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) has been trying to win over vulnerable Democrats to support the bill.

We scooped Wednesday night that Thompson met with four Frontline Democrats on the committee — Reps. Angie Craig (Minn.), Nikki Budzinski (Ill.), Andrea Salinas (Ore.) and Eric Sorensen (Ill.) — in an unsuccessful bid to back his proposal before today’s vote. Craig had called the meeting.

Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), who serves as vice chair of the committee, said he was also having conversations with Democrats seeking their support.

“Most of us have pretty good relationships across party lines, so we’ll hopefully be able to work through this,” Scott told us. “For some Democrats on our committee, ag is the number one industry in their districts.”

Democrats’ opposition: For their part, Democrats are only expected to offer a handful of amendments to the underlying bill during the markup, but these will be major changes that Thompson and Republicans won’t support.

Craig told us that the Republican bill doesn’t do enough to earn Democrats’ backing.

“It may get a little bit of Democratic support, but what I would say is that there is a better farm bill on behalf of family farmers and Americans that we can get to,” Craig told us. “We need to stay and ask Republicans to sit down with us and negotiate that. This is not that.”

Democratic leadership also has been working to keep their rank-and-file unified against the proposal.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries held a call Monday with Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), the panel’s ranking member, to discuss how to keep Democrats together against the bill.

We also reported that preliminary scoring from the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the Thompson plan would increase the deficit by nearly $40 billion over the next decade.

Senate view: Senate Democrats are seeking to bring Republicans back to the negotiating table.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) unveiled her own proposed package of more than 100 related bipartisan bills.

Stabenow said the only way to get any kind of farm bill through the Senate is one that can get bipartisan support.

“I hope that they’re willing to sit down and really listen after they’re done with their markup about what it’s going to take to get a bipartisan bill,” Stabenow told us.

One thing we are certain about is that we can expect a long day. Committee staff predict the markup will take a minimum of six hours. But they also warn it could go up to nine hours under some scenarios.

— Mica Soellner

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