Farm Bill Minus Food Stamps
Numerous ag groups and anti-hunger groups expressed over and over that it would be a bad idea to split the farm bill into two bills. Apparently their protests fell on deaf ears because that’s exactly what did happen last Thursday. The massive farm bill narrowly passed after Republicans stripped out the food stamp program. Zero Democrats voted for it and twelve Republicans voted against it. More than 46 million receive federal nutrition assistance, with food stamp spending accounting for roughly eighty percent of the cost of the farm bill, growing from about $38 billion in fiscal 2008 to $78 billion in fiscal 2012. Now what? Well, the proverbial can gets kicked back to the Senate, or a so-called conference committee, to resolve the differences between the two chambers’ bills. President Obama said he would veto the House version. House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas said prior to the vote that he was opposed to splitting the bill, but changed his stance late Wednesday stating that, “Maybe the old dynamic of how we have done things since 1965 isn’t valid anymore. Maybe it’s time to try something different”. One thing remains the same; the House and Senate are once again headed towards a looming September 30th deadline.