Wednesday, July 11, 2012

House Ag Approves Cuts To Food Stamp Funding

Amendments on SNAP & medical marijuana, CSAs also considered during markup...
Update, July 12: The Committee approves the measure
During its day-long markup session for the Farm Bill on Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee, chaired by Frank Lucas (R-OK) worked on a series of amendments effecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka Food Stamps). Key among these was rejecting an amendment restoring $16.5 billion in funding for SNAP to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. The roll-call vote was 31-15 on the amendment offered by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass).

The cut to the budget is spread over a decade in the draft of the legislation. Between 44 and 46 million Americans rely on Food Stamps monthly. All Republicans voted against the amendment, joined by five Democrats: Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (Minn) and Reps. Mike McIntyre (NC), William Owens (NY), Kurt Schrader (OR), and Tim Holden (PA).

Before breaking in the late afternoon for the final House vote to repeal President Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act, (which passed 244-185), the Committee also:

*Rejected an amendment from Rep. Schrader that sought to cut Food Stamps by $4.5 billion--the same figure offered by the Farm Bill legislation approved by the Senate in late June. The vote was 28 to 15.

*Passed by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) to allow SNAP participants to use their benefits through community-supported agriculture programs.

*Passed by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby (R-ALA) that would require state agencies to verify income and eligibility, or an immigration status verification system such as systematic alien verification, for entitlement programs.

*Passed by voice vote an amendment that does not allow the cost of medical marijuana to be used to reduce a beneficiary’s income for Food Stamp qualification and benefit purposes, sponsored by Reps. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) and Renee Elmers (R-N.C.).

The Committee returned after the Floor vote on Obamacare to continue work on the markup.