Ag Policy Blog

GOP Lawmakers Support SNAP Changes As Farm Bill Goes to Markup

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
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House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, plans to move his farm bill out of committee this week.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, late last week formally scheduled a markup on his farm bill proposal on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The bill is known as H.R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.

Conaway has said the committee will work into the evening if necessary, and if the markup is not finished at that time the committee will come back Thursday and Friday until it is done.

Democratic members who do not support the GOP nutrition title of the bill that covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have not indicated whether they will offer amendments to that title or others.

Meanwhile, Republican members went to the House floor on Thursday evening to make statements in favor of the nutrition title.

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“I’m proud of the bipartisan work we have done up to this point because there is nothing in this farm bill that wasn’t part of those over 21 hearings that we had,” said Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., the vice chairman of the committee and the chairman of the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee.

“What we are doing is providing the tools necessary to help individuals escape the cycle of poverty,” Thompson said.

“I believe that there are many pathways to success in life and sometimes we do need that critical safety net to take care of our families and help us get back on our feet. With the rebounding economy and an increased focus on workforce development, I know we’re going to be able to open new economic doors for many because Americans deserve no less.”

“Our farm bill increases nutrition education, incentivizes our SNAP recipients to make healthier choices and increases access to nutritious foods,” said Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan.

“How can anyone vote against a bill that looks at the food insecurity problem in this country from so many angles, through the eyes of so many people?”

“Americans today right now enjoy one of the lowest percentages of their average income of being spent on food at any time back when our country was founded,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., a former committee chairman.

“Food banks are an existing strong network for food delivery to those in need. However, it’s important to note many farmers often still have excess fruits and vegetables that go to waste.

“The solution is to establish a Farm to Food Bank program allowing states to enter agreements with farmers to procure this excess for distribution. To achieve this, we are expanding funding in H.R. 2 for TEFAP (The Emergence Food Assistance Program), using a portion for a Farm to Food Bank program that provides an inexpensive source of food for low-income families, while supporting producers. Making sure these programs are protected and making sure they work fairly and honestly is the objective of this farm bill.”

The House Agriculture Committee also released endorsements of the bill by Republican House members from around the country. https://goo.gl/…

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