Both Senate and House versions of the farm bill that Congress is looking to pass, preferably in short order and definitely before the current bill expires this September, are little better than deliberately gigantic messes full of an impressively convoluted combination of food stamps, corporate pork, tricky amendments, and completely unnecessary federal special treatment that agribusiness lobby claims agriculture for some reason deserves above all other economic sectors. The Hill has a useful rundown of some of the major battles that still need to be fought within Congress before they can agree upon a final bill, but one of the biggest is going to be over the majority of the spending in the bills that goes to food stamp programs. The Senate-passed version of the farm bill cut the food-stamp program by merely $400 million per year, with the support of the Obama administration, but the House is looking to go a little deeper (hi, trillion dollar yearly deficits, anyone?!) — and the Obama administration doesn’t like that at all.
The White House is threatening to veto the House version of a massive, five-year farm bill, saying food stamp cuts included in the legislation could leave some Americans hungry.
The House is preparing to consider the bill this week. The legislation would cut $2 billion annually, or around 3 percent, from food stamps and make it harder for some people to qualify for the program. Food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, cost almost $80 billion last year, twice the amount it cost five years ago. …
The White House said in its statement Monday that food stamps are “a cornerstone of our nation’s food assistance safety net.” The administration argued that the House should make deeper cuts to farm subsidies like crop insurance instead.
Yes, it’s very easy to talk about the people who will be helped by continued growth in the food stamp program, except that the Obama administration has completely obliterated the normal standards and has grown the program by a whopping 70 percent since 2008 alone — even as the White House continues to insist that employment is improving everyday and our economy is continuing to recover. If that were really the case, why the expanded need for food stamps? You can’t have it both ways, you know.
Oh, and by the way — where is a lot of that corporate and special-interest pork in the farms bills coming from, you might very well wonder?
House members have filed more than 200 amendments to the bill, which is expected to come to the floor later this week.