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Policy: Entitlements

Cuts to food stamps threaten farm bill

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Congress,House of Representatives,Agriculture,Entitlements,PennAve,Sean Lengell

White House opposition to the House’s massive farm bill could leave some Republicans and conservative groups in the awkward position of agreeing with President Obama.

As the House continued debate Wednesday on the five-year measure that includes billions of dollars for crop subsidies and farmers’ insurance, many Republicans have threatened to reject it on the grounds that the bill’s $2 billion annual cuts to the food stamp program don’t go far enough.

Food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, cost almost $80 billion last year — twice the amount it cost five years ago.

The president also doesn’t like the cuts and argues they go too deep and could leave some Americans hungry. Calling the program “a cornerstone of our nation’s food assistance safety net,” he has threatened to veto the bill. The White House also said the measure should include deeper cuts to commodity and crop insurance programs.

The administration instead supports the Senate’s version of the farm bill, which passed earlier this month with significant bipartisan support and includes only a fifth of the amount House’s proposed food stamp cuts, or about $400 million a year.

House Agriculture Committee leaders had hoped to bring the bill to the full House floor for a final vote Thursday. But with more than 200 amendments filed, the vote may be delayed until next week.

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Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner