Farm Bill, SNAP Debate Spills into June
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Farm Bill, SNAP Debate Spills into June

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May 28, 2013

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Senators left for the Memorial Day recess without completing debate on the Farm Bill, but they did vote on several key issues related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/formerly Food Stamps).

An amendment offered by Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) to eliminate SNAP cuts from the bill was defeated by a vote of 26-70.

However, amendments that would increase SNAP cuts or otherwise undermine the program also were rejected. Sen. Roberts’ (R-KS) amendment to cut SNAP by over $30 billion failed by a vote of 40-58 and Sen. Inhofe’s (R-OK) amendment to convert SNAP to a block grant failed 36-60.

Several additional amendments targeting SNAP remain, as well as ones that consolidate various nutrition programs (and ultimately reduce their funding) and eliminate the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

The Senate also adopted by unanimous consent an amendment from Sen. Franken (D-MN), endorsed by NCOA, that would allow homebound seniors and persons with disabilities to use their SNAP benefits at retailers that offer home-delivery services. Similar language is in the House bill.

The House Agriculture Committee approved its own version of the Farm Bill earlier this month, but it’s unclear when it might be debated by the full chamber. The House bill cuts SNAP by nearly $21 billion, which would force 2 million people off the program. An amendment offered during the committee markup to reverse that cut failed by a vote of 17-27.

The Senate will resume debate on the full Farm Bill on June 3.

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