Pro Farmer Extra
- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -
May 31, 2013
High hurdles to clear for House farm bill
As the Senate prepares to take up its version of the farm bill in the week ahead, it's becoming clear the House debate over new farm policy will be heated and potentially drawn-out. Contacts tell us 30 to 40 House Democrats will be willing to support the House plan if it includes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food-stamp program) of up to $20.5 billion over 10 years.
That's not much support from the Democrats, which means the House plan would require overwhelming support from the Republican side of the aisle. Which is easier said than done.
Those "furthest to the right" on the Republican side argue the $20.5 billion cut to SNAP isn't enough and many of these recently elected lawmakers (many in the Tea Party uprising) don't want to support any farm program supports at all. They especially dislike the food stamp program and crop insurance subsidies.
Republican leaders will attempt to coax "yes" votes from this group of conservatives by promoting the bill as a down payment on further farm policy reforms in the future. They may even promise future legislation to tie SNAP benefits to a jobs bill.
Either way, the House battle is setting up to be a three-way fight between liberals, conservatives and the really conservatives.
Senate debate is set to resume Monday with a likely vote on the full package by mid-week. The Senate bill, with its $4.5 billion in SNAP cuts, is expected to pass the floor vote.
Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory
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