House Republicans to drop food stamps from Farm Bill

After an embarrassing defeat last month, House Republican leaders have decided to separate food stamp funding from the Farm Bill in hopes that they can appease special interest groups lobbying for more taxpayer money:

House Republican leaders have decided to drop food stamps from the farm bill and are whipping the farm-only portion of the bill for a vote that will likely come this week, according to a GOP leadership aide.

The nutrition portion of the bill would be dealt with later.
House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas said Tuesday morning that he would support splitting the farm bill — as long as it can pass the House.

“I’m willing to do what it takes to get a farm bill done,” Lucas said as he exited a Republican Conference meeting Tuesday morning. “If that means doing it unconventionally, maybe we got to give it a try.”

Republican leadership has tried to blame everybody themselves, including Democrats and fiscal conservatives in the House, for the Farm Bill’s failure. Big spending, rank-and-file Republicans have also lashed out at fiscal conservatives for not voting for the bill.

Leadership floated the idea of separating food stamps, which is roughly 79% of the cost of the $940 billion Farm Bill, last month after it became clear it couldn’t pass otherwise. That’s something that proposed before the bill even went to the floor.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) offered an amendment in the House Rules Committee to separate food stamps funding from the rest of the Farm Bill. During the hearing on the bill, Stutzman said, “[F]or too long this Congress has combined farm policy and nutrition policy and what we have now is a bill that spends $740 billion on food stamps and $200 billion on farm policy.” However, his amendment was rejected by the committee and never brought to the House floor for a vote.

Separating the food stamps from the Farm Bill doesn’t mean that it’ll win passage, especially if leadership doesn’t believe that they can rely on support from House Democrats. Many of the Republicans that voted against the Farm Bill had very real issues with the lack of reform on the policy side, from corporate welfare to protectionist subsidies to paying farmers not to yield crops.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.