House Passes Farm Bill with Reform of SNAP Program

This farm bill attaches work requirements to food stamps, but will it pass the Senate?

Supposedly, the House’s farm bill is “dead on arrival” in the Senate, in part because of the work requirements for food stamps. Hopefully, the Trump Administration has a plan to convince the Senate to go along with the House bill.

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One of the key pieces of “fake news” is treating the opponants of the work requirement for food stamps as advocates for the poor. On the contrary, Walmart and other parts of the “big food” industry lobby against any change to the SNAP program. They do very well by it!

The Washington Post reports, “House narrowly passes farm bill that includes stricter work requirements for food stamps, a month after failing on first try.

A deeply polarizing farm bill narrowly passed the House Thursday, a month after the legislation went down to stunning defeat after getting ensnared in the toxic politics of immigration.

The legislation, which passed 213-211 with 20 Republicans joining Democrats in their unanimous opposition, includes controversial new work rules for most adult food-stamp recipients — provisions that are dead on arrival in the Senate. The massive legislative package overseeing more than $430 billion of food and agriculture programs over five years contains a host of measures aimed at strengthening farm subsidies, expanding foreign trade and bolstering rural development.

The bill was championed by a dwindling number of farm-district Republicans who feel duty-bound to deliver farm supports to their rural constituents. On the first go-round last month, this group lost out to an increasingly powerful cohort of conservatives who are more interested in winning political points on welfare reform and immigration.

The tense divide between the two camps has huge implications for the future of food and farm policy in the United States, as well as the Republican Party itself. Even as the bill advances from the House, political analysts said, the tensions revealed in its lurching, divisive journey are likely to persist.

[…]

The most divisive element of the legislation passed Thursday are new, stricter work rules for most able-bodied adults in the food stamp program, the federal safety net that provides an average of $125 per month in grocery money to 42.3 million Americans. Under the proposal, adults will have to spend 20 hours per week either working or participating in a state-run training program to receive benefits.

Democrats and anti-hunger advocates say most states do not have the capacity to scale up case management or training programs to this extent. As a result, they argue, hundreds of thousands of low-income adults could end up losing benefits.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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