Talks begin 2 days before food stamp cut
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 8:24 p.m.
WASHINGTON — House and Senate negotiators began talks on Wednesday on crafting a compromise farm bill, including cuts to the food stamp program.
The talks started just two days before food stamp recipients will get a separate, unrelated cut in their monthly benefits.
A temporary benefit, from the 2009 stimulus that boosted food stamp dollars, will expire on Friday.
According to the Agriculture Department, a family of four receiving food stamps will receive $36 less a month. The cuts are expected to reduce the almost $80 billion program by nearly $5 billion next year.
If passed, the farm bill cuts would be on top of that amount. The cost of the program has more than doubled since 2008 as the economy has struggled. Republicans say the program needs to be better targeted to only the neediest people. Legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House would cut food stamps by an additional $4 billion annually and would change eligibility and work requirements.
The Senate farm bill would cut a tenth of that amount, with Democrats and President Obama opposing major cuts.
Farm-state lawmakers have been pushing the farm bill for more than two years. The negotiations represent the opening round in final talks. If the bill is not passed by the end of the year and the farm law is not extended, certain dairy supports would expire that could raise the price of milk. Farmers would start to feel more effects in the spring.
“It took us years to get here, but we are here,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla. “Let's not take years to get it done.”
The biggest obstacle to a final bill is how far apart the two parties are on food stamps — officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Lucas said at the talks that he hopes to find common ground on the issue. But House leadership, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., have insisted on higher cuts.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a statement as the meeting opened that said food stamp recipients “deserve swift action from Congress to pass a bill that provides the much-needed nutritional support for our children, our seniors, our veterans and our communities.”
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.
- Prostitution found to have vast economic impact
- General gets OK to pursue plea deal
- Mo. man freedin editor’sdeath sues for $100M
- CIA accused of meddling in torture probe
- Attack cat to receive medical treatment, therapy
- Lerner emails looked for way out of difficulties at the IRS
- FDA approves migraine treatment device
- Nominee to head NSA leery of delays inherent in 3rd-party collection of telephone data
- Floodwaters fall in Montana, Wyoming
- Senate plan aims to overhaul Fannie, Freddie
- NTSB chair Hersman steps down