House Republicans Unveil Partisan Farm Bill
April 12, 2018
After forcing Democrats out of the negotiating process, House Republicans today proposed a partisan Farm Bill that takes access to healthy food away from families. These cuts come on top of other potential changes to food assistance programs being pushed by the Trump administration, like drug testing requirements, that are unnecessary and would make it harder for low-wage workers to feed their families. Republicans know that this partisan proposal is a non-starter for farmers and consumers who deserve a timely bipartisan Farm Bill that actually works for everyone.
Republican cuts to SNAP, or food stamps, would make it even harder for working families to put food on the table, and takes aim at the most vulnerable among us, including children, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
Agri-Pulse: “Democrats argue that the SNAP reforms are unworkable and cruel, and they have vowed to fight the bill in committee and on the House floor.”
Vox: “The average benefit is about $126 per person per month, or about $254 per household per month, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That comes out to about $1.40 per meal — whether you live in New York or North Dakota.”
Republicans are imposing unproven requirements to limit access to SNAP, while creating a giant new bureaucracy that could dramatically increase costs.
Politico: “House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway's bill would make between 5 million and 6 million food-stamp recipients subject to stricter work requirements.”
Agri-Pulse: “The bill would require all able-bodied adults between ages 18 and 59, including parents of children over 6 years of age, to work or be in an approved training program for at least 20 hours a week. The legislation also would make it harder for states to get waivers from the work rules.”
Washington Post: “Preliminary Congressional Budget Office estimates suggest the requirements would cut SNAP participation by as many as 1 million people over the next 10 years.”
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Evidence indicates that such requirements do little to reduce poverty, and in some cases, push families deeper into it.”
Agri-Pulse: “The committee’s ranking Democrat, Collin Peterson, has been particularly critical of the plan to ramp up state employment and training programs, saying that will create an unwieldy bureaucracy that would offer too little assistance to SNAP beneficiaries to do them much good.”
SNAP pours tens of billions of dollars into local economies each year because families who rely on SNAP shop in local grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retailers to buy food.
USDA: “Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 of economic activity.”
National Grocers Association: “Nutritional food access challenges would grow worse throughout the country, as supermarkets would struggle to survive in underserved communities. Not only would this exacerbate the food desert problem, but it would also negatively impact ancillary economic activity in many communities where the local economy is heavily reliant on the success of Main Street supermarkets.”
House Republicans’ partisan attacks on SNAP could derail efforts to pass a new farm bill before the existing one expires later this year.
Reuters: “Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Republican, has warned that the changes to SNAP sought by conservative House Republicans and the administration of President Donald Trump will make it difficult to get the votes needed from Democrats to pass the bill.”
The House Republican Farm Bill does little to provide additional funding for farmers and rural communities, who are facing severe economic challenges.
Bloomberg: “Spending on farm subsidies and crop insurance, the two main farmer support programs, would be little changed, according to Republican House Agriculture Committee staff.”
Reuters: “The proposals do not contain fresh measures to protect U.S. farmers from the impact of the trade disputes on agricultural exports or imports.”
Politico: “Five years ago, commodity prices had hit record highs and farmers were earning record profits. Today, those same farmers are hurting as a result of falling commodity prices that have depressed net farm income by more than 50 percent, and a series of natural disasters that inflicted billions in damages from California to Florida.”