Farm Bill Passes House with Food-Stamp Program Stripped Out

The White House late Wednesday said it would veto the 608-page farm bill because it omitted SNAP spending and did not "contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms."
July 12, 2013
 

House lawmakers approved a scaled-back version of the farm bill Thursday after stripping out the popular food-stamp program used by 48 million Americans.

The bill narrowly passed on a 216-208 vote, largely along party lines. A dozen Republicans voted against the measure while no Democrats voted in favor.

The measure focuses solely on farm programs and would delay, at least for now, efforts to overhaul the country's food-stamp program that traditionally has made up 80% of spending in the bill.

"This process hasn't been easy and we still have a long way to go to get a farm bill signed into law," said Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. "Splitting the farm bill is not ideal and certainly wasn't the path I would have chosen, but at the end of the day, we need to get a farm bill into conference with the Senate."

Noem told reporters that House leaders said they expect to vote on the food-stamp portion of the bill "in the next week or two."

House lawmakers last month failed to pass a five-year, $500 billion farm bill that would have implemented the biggest cuts to the food-stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, in decades.

The legislation stalled after Republican lawmakers pushed for deeper cuts in SNAP spending, drawing the ire of Democrats who feared too many poor people would no longer be eligible.

The divide siphoned off votes and left GOP leaders scrambling to find an alternative path forward. The current farm law expires on Sept. 30.

Democrats lined up Thursday to oppose splitting the bill. They criticized Republican leaders for not giving them enough time to review the measure and expressed fears that removing SNAP spending would hurt American families that depend on the program.

The White House late Wednesday said it would veto the 608-page farm bill because it omitted SNAP spending and did not "contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms."

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