House to consider $4B in food stamp cuts
WASHINGTON — The House is expected to consider a bill this week that would cut food stamps by an estimated $4 billion annually and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place for recipients.
The legislation would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults who don't have dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.
The vote occurs after the House defeated a wide-ranging farm bill in June because many conservatives believed the cuts to the nearly $80 billion-a-year food stamp program weren't high enough. That bill would have made about $2 billion a year in cuts.
Food stamps have for decades been part of farm legislation. But House leaders separated the food and farm programs after the bill's June defeat and passed a farm-only bill in July. The Republican leaders, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, then crafted the food stamp bill in an effort to appease conservatives who have been aggressively pushing for cuts to domestic food aid.
One in seven Americans use food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the cost of the program has more than doubled in the past five years.
It is unclear whether the Republican leaders have enough votes for passage. Democrats have lined up solidly in opposition, and some moderate Republicans have indicated they may not be able to stomach the cuts.
Even if the bill passes, the cuts are unlikely to become law. The Democratic Senate passed a farm bill in June with one-tenth of the cuts in the House bill, or about $400 million a year, and President Obama has strongly opposed any major cuts to the program.
The House bill would tighten eligibility standards and try to reduce the rolls by allowing states to require drug testing for recipients. It would bar convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles from receiving food stamps.
Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, called the bill “unnecessary and divisive.”
“Even if this bill is defeated, as it should be, I worry the debate will eliminate any remaining goodwill needed to pass a farm bill,” Peterson said.
Peterson and other rural Democrats worked closely with House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., in writing the original farm bill. But Peterson, along with every other Democrat voting that day, voted against the farm-only bill that passed the House in July, warning of food stamp cuts to come.
The president of the National Farmers Union on Monday urged members to vote against the food stamp bill. National farm groups have long supported inclusion of food stamps in farm bills to garner votes from urban lawmakers.
“Separating nutrition programs from the farm bill was a mistake from the very beginning,” said Roger Johnson.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Storm knocks out power to New Orleans airport for hours
- Honus Wagner baseball card sells for $1.32M
- Riot erupts in Baltimore after funeral for man hurt in police custody
- Iowa avian flu outbreak might be spreading
- Government fluoride standard lowered
- Teacher called hero in Wash. school shooting
- Obamacare contraception ruling thrown out
- Man formally charged with murder of Indiana student
- Administration pushes Iran nuclear pact on 2 fronts
- Colorado movie theater shooting trial begins
- Top Tulsa sheriff’s aide quits under fire