House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised his Democratic colleagues that they would put the food-stamp portion of the traditional “farm bill,” which they split from its usual “agricultural policy” copilot earlier this month, on the agenda in short order. Republicans, however, have been cooking up a new plan for the food-stamp program just about certain to send all Congressional Democrats into an almighty uproar, via Reuters:
U.S. House Republicans plan to propose a $40 billion cut to the nation’s food stamp program, the head of the House Agriculture Committee said on Thursday, twice the cuts previously sought by conservatives.
Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said legislation on the food assistance program, known as SNAP, would be the second part of any talks on the U.S. farm bill with the Senate.
Lucas told lobbyists that a Republican working group agreed on cuts expected to total $40 billion and could include steps such as mandatory drugs tests and employment rules.
If this idea makes into the proposed legislation, I’m thinking it will easily make its way out of the Republican-controlled House, and then they’ll have both a food-stamp bill and the disgrace of an agriculture bill they already passed to send into conference with the Senate’s still-omnibus version. That will not go well.
Democrats are going to be having the obvious hissyfits about how Republicans don’t care about poor people and want to gut a program whose enrollment has grown by 70 percent in less than five years, the horror, and the White House will almost certainly issue their usual veto threat on anything that makes even the slightest attempt at reforming our broken welfare state. I can see Harry Reid now, with all of the moral outrage of one fighting a completely fictitious evil demon: “Youuuuuuuuu! Shall not! Paaaaaaaaass!”
Clarification, h/t to our trusty commenters: That’s $40 billion worth of cuts in total over ten years, out of a program that is projected to spend an annual average of $77 billion… every year. I believe that amounts to about a 5 percent cut, correct? Whomp.