The Mifepristone Case Isn’t the Endgame for Abortion Opponents

Let’s cast our minds back: Congress was supposed to approve a new farm bill—the massive legislation that covers nutrition, farming, and conservation policy—in 2023, five years after the 2018 farm bill went into effect. But negotiations stretched into this year, with Congress passing a one-year extension of the 2018 measure. The House Agriculture Committee is expected to release text of its version in the coming weeks, with a committee markup and vote sometime this spring. But funding for the farm bill remains controversial, with Republicans seeking to claw back funds from one of Democrats’ signature legislative achievements.

Republicans are looking to repurpose about $15 billion in funding intended for “climate-smart” agriculture policies, as approved in the Inflation Reduction Act, the 2022 climate, health, and tax policy bill passed by Democrats. Republicans want to use those funds that have not been obligated for something other than fighting climate change. GOP lawmakers have also suggested restricting future updates to the Thrifty Food Plan, the method by which the federal government determines benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as food stamps. The Biden administration updated the Thrifty Food Plan in 2021, which resulted in increased benefit amounts for SNAP recipients; the proposed change by Republicans would not affect current benefits.

“We don’t do any harm. We can find significant pay-fors without doing harm to either conservation or nutrition or the CCC,” Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson, a Republican, told me, also referring to the Commodity Credit Corporation, a line of credit tapped by the Department of Agriculture that GOP lawmakers would like to restrict. Under the GOP proposal, the Thrifty Food Plan could still be increased based on “cost of living adjustments,” Thompson said, but the plan would also “prevent any future administration from manipulating other variables.”