Yesterday, the House rejected H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, by a vote of 234 to 195.
Voting against the bill were:
- Republicans who thought a $20 billion cut to SNAP (food stamps) and a $5 billion cut to farm supports were not nearly deep enough.
- Democrats who were appalled by the cuts to SNAP and the addition of amendments requiring SNAP applicants to be tested for drugs, to be rejected if they had ever been found guilty of felonies, and to be required to work.
Unless Congress gets its act together, support for SNAP and agriculture revert to the provisions of the 2008 bill [Oops. The 1949 bill]. Congress will have to deal with some of trauma that results from this.
My favorite comment on this situation comes from Joel Berg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger:
We celebrate the failure of this horrific federal Farm Bill which would have slashed SNAP nutrition benefits by over $20 billion. Not only would this Farm Bill have taken food off the table of low-income children, veterans, working parents, and people with disabilities, it would have actually expanded corporate welfare for agri-businesses…It’s time to go back to the drawing board, and for both houses of Congress…to pass a Farm Bill that puts the interests of hungry Americans, consumers, family farmers, the environment, and taxpayers above those of corporate welfare.
Is any of this news? Not page 1, apparently. I’m in Los Angeles where the New York Times put the story on page 12.
Other comments worth reading:
- Jerry Hagstrom writing in the National Journal.
- The National Journal on congressional finger-pointing on who is to blame for Republican political failure.
- The account in Politico.
- The roll call of the 195-234 vote.
- Environmental Working Group’s Top Ten reasons why the farm bill failed—and should have failed.