The U.S. House of Representatives will take another run at the Farm Bill this week – after first moving to separate nutrition provisions from the massive five-year package. The Republican-led House defeated the $500 billion measure last month on a vote of 234-195. Many Democrats were concerned about some $20 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, (SNAP) and other nutrition programs.
“With those two separate, I think you’ll see a lot more support,” said Wisconsin Republican congressman Sean Duffy who, along with fellow Republicans Tom Petri and Reid Ribble voted in favor of the legislation in June. Republicans Paul Ryan and James Sensenbrenner voted against it, along with Democrats Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan.
Duffy said conservatives – himself included – have problems with the growth of food stamps, or SNAP, as it’s now known, over the past several years.
“We’re trying to contain some of those costs – not for the folks who are truly in need and kids who don’t have breakfast or supper – but for those who are at the top end, who are getting access to these programs, who can do without it,” Duffy said.
Duffy said a vote on the “farm only” bill could come by the end of the week. “I guess you’ll see, will Democrats and Republicans support the farm portion of the Farm Bill? Will they support, separately, the food stamp portion oft he Farm Bill? And what kind of reform comes into both, to actually get them to pass?”