Late last night the House Agriculture Committee approved (35-11) the Farm Bill, (H.R. 6083), which includes $16.5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps). It is reported that the legislation, introduced by Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) and the Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), will result in two to three million people with low incomes no longer being eligible for SNAP benefits; approximately 75% of those are households with children, and 280,000 children will no longer be able to receive free school lunches as a result of their families losing their SNAP benefits. Almost half of those currently receiving SNAP benefits are children under 18 years of age. Further cuts in SNAP were rejected by a vote of 33-13 on an amendment that split the committee Republicans down the middle. This amendment by Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS.) would have doubled the reductions to $33 billion – as proposed in the GOP’s spring budget resolution.
Earlier this week before the Committee vote, CWLA joined Members of Congress, Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, and other national organizations in opposition to the proposed cuts.
The Senate has passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, with cuts of $4.5 billion to SNAP. The full House must now take up H.R. 6083 and then if a bill is approved it must go to a conference committee with the Senate. If the Senate and House cannot agree on the terms and provisions of the 2012 Farm Bill it is likely that Congress will then consider a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.