By a vote of 195-234, the U.S. House of Representatives has once again killed the Farm Bill.
Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bipartisan Farm Bill. Agriculture interests were hoping for the House to pass a bill so that negotiations could begin between the two chambers on an official compromise.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said, “With today’s failure to pass a farm bill, the House has let down rural America. We are deeply disappointed that the House voted against the best interests of family farmers and rural America.”
Where the nutrition title of the Farm Bill was a rural-urban coalition builder in the past, the title’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – and how much funding it should receive – is a major sticking point for many GOP members of Congress.
Amendments were offered and passed by majority Republicans during floor debate that peeled off Democratic support for the bill. One amendment would have required SNAP recipients to be employed. Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained this provision in a blog post:
… this extreme provision would allow states to terminate benefits to households where adults — including parents with children as young as 1 year old and many people with disabilities — are not working or participating in a work or training program at least 20 hours a week. It would not require states to make any work opportunities available and would provide no jobs and no funds for work or training programs. Thus, people who want to work and are looking for a job but haven’t found one could have their benefits cut off. Their children’s benefits could be cut off, as well.
Media Roundup on Farm Bill Coverage: