Ag Policy Blog

Reaction to the House Vote on SNAP Cuts

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Some statements following the House vote to cut $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over 10 years.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: “Today's vote was a highly partisan step that does nothing to promote a bipartisan, comprehensive Farm Bill and stands no chance of becoming law. The harmful plan championed today by House leadership would deny critical nutrition assistance for millions of Americans, including working families with children, senior citizens, veterans, and adults who are still looking for work. The Senate has passed a bipartisan Farm Bill two years running. Now it's time for House leadership to do their part by appointing conferees as soon as possible and completing the comprehensive bill that farmers, ranchers and rural Americans deserve."

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House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla: "I remain committed to getting a five-year farm bill on the books this year. Today's vote was another step toward that goal. The House passed a bill that makes common-sense reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that encourages and enables work participation, closes program loopholes, and eliminates waste, fraud and abuse while saving the American taxpayer nearly $40 billion. SNAP serves an important purpose to help Americans who are struggling, so it is equally important that we ensure the program is working in the most effective and efficient way. I look forward to continuing conversations with my House and Senate colleagues as we move toward a farm bill conference."

Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn, speaking on the floor before the vote: “I’ve been working on this farm bill for nearly four years and from the beginning I’ve said that I think it is possible to find some middle ground and make reasonable, responsible reforms to nutrition programs. Unfortunately, this bill is neither reasonable nor responsible," Peterson said. He added later in his statement, “All this bill is going to do is make it harder, if not impossible, to pass a new farm bill this Congress.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas: “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides critical assistance to families that have hit hard times. But it was never meant to support one in every seven Americans. These reforms won’t affect anyone who legitimately qualifies for assistance. They will simply allow us to better target our assistance to eligible families.”

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn: “While I believe there is room to make reforms to the nutrition program, I also believe that no one should go hungry in America. This partisan, divisive bill unnecessarily punishes hardworking American families, their children, veterans, and senior citizens who are struggling to put food on the table, which is why I opposed it today," Walz said. He added, “It’s time for the Tea Party led House to stop the political games and start doing the work. America needs a Farm Bill that will give both producers and consumers certainty. The time is now to appoint a Farm Bill conference committee and pass a bipartisan, long-term Farm Bill into law.”

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa: “When we passed the agriculture-only Farm Bill in July, I was disappointed we were unable to include reforms to nutrition programs that would ensure stability for our economy,” said King. “As the Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight and Nutrition, I understand the importance of SNAP benefits for those eligible for aid and the need for stability for hard working farmers. SNAP was originally designed to offer aid to those who truly needed assistance. Unfortunately, it has turned into a bloated program with far too few checks and balances monitoring to whom the assistance is going. Participation in SNAP rose 65% from 2008 to 2012. During that same time, the total cost of the program rose from $37.6 billion to $78.4 billion a year. It is critical we get the growth of this program under control by ensuring that benefits go to only those who are in need."

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