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Wrestling Over Food Stamps Dooms Farm Bill

Conservative lawmaker: “The farm bill died because the Democratic leadership had indicated they wanted it to die.”

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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June 29, 2013 - 12:04 am
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WASHINGTON – The farm bill collapsed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, as divisions over food stamp cuts and the shape of future agriculture subsidies continue to divide Congress along party lines and within GOP ranks.

The House rejected the bill by a vote of 195 to 234, with 62 Republicans opposing the bill and only 24 Democrats voting in favor of it. The latest setback for the $939 billion agriculture bill came a week after the Senate had already passed its $955 billion version.

Republicans blamed Democrats for the bill’s outcome, while others blamed the Republican leadership for ignoring the conservatives in the House.

“What happens with our leadership is that they try to negotiate in good faith…and they actually ignore the conservatives because they think they have a bipartisan agreement with the Democrats,” said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) Wednesday during the “Conversations with Conservatives” event.

“If they would have actually negotiated with the conservatives, we would have had a farm bill passed out of the House last week,” he continued.

Labrador also criticized the Democrats for trying to attribute the bill’s failure to several amendments introduced by House Republicans.

“The Democrats keep saying that it was the amendments on the floor that killed [the bill]. Let’s not forget that two days before the vote, the president of the United States said he was going to veto the bill. Two days before the vote, Nancy Pelosi stood up and said that it was a bad bill and that she hoped that every Democrat would vote against it,” said Labrador. “The farm bill died because the Democratic leadership had indicated they wanted it to die.”

The defeat of the legislation dealt a huge blow to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team. The bill’s failure also allowed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call her GOP counterparts amateurs in running the House.

“What [was] happening on the floor today was a demonstration of major amateur hour,” Pelosi told reporters after the vote. “They didn’t get results, and they put the blame on somebody else.”

Most Democrats voted against the bill because it cut food stamp programs by more than $20 billion. A series of proposals by House Republicans all but doomed the legislation. Democrats called an amendment that opened the door to states to impose work requirements on able-bodied food stamp recipients, a proposal backed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), as the last straw. One of the proposals contained language allowing states to drug-test food stamp applicants.

Nearly 80 percent of the proposed farm bill spending would be set aside for food stamps and nutrition programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed in January that 23 million households receive food assistance. The most recent USDA statistics show that the number of food stamp recipients has topped 47 million, an increase of nearly 70 percent since 2008. The average monthly benefit for one beneficiary is $133.44.

Before the House vote, a group of House Democrats, organized by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), participated in the Food Stamp Challenge, hoping that the publicity move would highlight the inadequacies of the food assistance system.

The Food Stamp Challenge is an effort to encourage Americans to spend a week or two buying their food using only the budget provided to those dependent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The challenge reflects the allowance of $31.50 per-person, or $4.50 a day, that an individual receives under the SNAP program.

Critics of the challenge say that SNAP is designed to be a supplement to people’s food budget, and not the entire food budget. They also point out that the SNAP program is intended to be used to buy food for home-cooked meals, not fast- or highly processed food.

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Top Rated Comments   
Back in the 1970's I was a single father working for a living. Much of my money went to pay for day care for my daughter while I was working. She got 2 good meals at day care during the week which made it easier for me to save at home on meals. I'm sure we quite easily ate on less money than the food stamp recipients of the day - a couple dozen eggs and a sack of spuds and we were good for the week. I think eggs back then were $.79 per dozen and a 10 pound sack of spuds were $1.79 or so. Not an interesting diet by any means but it carried us through the week. Things like home cooked fried chicken was a rare treat back in those days - going out for dinner was out of the question - no money.

Too bad I didn't just succumb to the 'goodness' of our government like so many single moms of the day and go on welfare and food stamps - free medical/dental etc. I could have ate better and not have had to work! And I worked hard - hot roofing isn't easy! Washington state had a program for working single parents to help pay day care expenses back then - I asked them about it but was told "well thats actually for single mothers"! Makes me think they cared more about the women in their programs and not so much about the kids. Even back then it was all about votes!

My daughter and I toughed it out without help from the state - and it was tough going at times. I've never forgotten how slanted this state is towards women - and away from men given the same circumstances.

People today are just not tough enough...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Split the g*ddamed food stamps off from the farm bill part of it and debate the two bills seperately. WHAT THE H*LL IS SO HARD ABOUT COMMON SENSE!!

Oh pardon me, the 535 people in both houses of congress are so divorced from common sense it would never occur to them. Fire them ALL (and their staffs) and start from scratch.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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It would be much easier to pass bills if the rampant corruption were ended. Is there no one in D.C. willing to
intelligently and honestly address the issues? Stop
the crony payoffs and get realistic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Many agricultural policy observers have suggested separating the farm programs from the food stamp program into separate bills as a way to depoliticize the issue."

Great idea, it will never happen. It makes way too much common sense for anyone in Washington to understand it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We need prospective politicians that are enthusiastic about pushing for the near elimination of nation wide social programs. Few of the current, over-ripe crop of office holders in D.C. consider doing anything to save the country if they perceive any sacrifice on their part. The possibly most shameful aspect of this is that our government, over the years, has hijacked giving aid to those in need from our churches and individuals. Local responses to aid has always been most effective and anybody gaming neighbors for handouts because they are scum wont get far with it. Basically, the farm bill is mislabeled since the vast majority goes for food stamps/SNAP.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I retired from operations management in publishing 5 years ago and started a Bail Bond/Bounty Hunting company to pass the time. What a great learning experience going from a professional world to the underbelly of society.

Just let me say that my experience is that the fraud in Food Stamps and entitlements is broad and deep. If a simple drug test were given to recipients I would venture to guess that 40% of the people would fall out of the system.

SNAPS are traded like baseball cards for all kinds of goodies. We have Stamps change hands for bail money, NOT OUR DOING mind you, but they don't try to hide it from us. Felons with warrants on the run with Food Stamps, Medicaid, SSD, Title 8 Housing all in place. Taking a Warrant and court documents to your local HHS office results in nothing as they could care less and make it clear to us that THAT is confidential information. We have picked up at least four felons in the last year who had and were using their SNAP cards regularly to buy beer and what have you. One a drug lord, two meth head, and one a petty felon. Two in inner city Chicago (that's fun) and two in Tennessee. Criminals on entitlements is the norm.

I am all for helping the truly poor who are poor due to mental issues, physical issues, down on their luck, but I am telling you plain and simple the poor of 1913 were poor through no fault of their own, but the poor of 2013 are all too often poor because of very bad decisions made over and over again and plain old gaming of the system because they are entitled and know how to do it. The system is gamed constantly and is a high art form supported by the state and fed agencies at all levels. The state and Feds could care less that it is gamed. There is NO. ZERO. NADA communication between the state and fed welfare offices and law enforcement. They do not speak.

This whole thing is a very sad, very expensive joke.

One last point, I have five people I know all middle class who have gone on SSD and food stamps in the past year, two former employees, two distant relatives and an old friend. All aged 45 to 60.

What a shame in a land that no longer possesses shame.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Farm bills and paying farmers to grow food to waste to make fuel don't interest me. It's insanity and if it insane then that is what our congressmen will do. Common sense left those chambers long ago and only greed and corruption dwells there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, as conservatives, we don't like government giving our money to poor folks, but it's ok to give our money to farmers.

If you were consistent, if you actually had a political philosophy, you'd support ending all of it - tax money given to farmers, food stamps, corporate 'welfare', tax loopholes and tax breaks... Pfft. Stop giving your money to government employee unions, for that matter. Lobbyists? Yeah, one way or another, they get even more of your money than poor people. Golden parachutes for politicians? Yeah. Same thing, only there aren't as many of them, so they don't really count, when it comes to taking your money for their own retirements. Not to mention stealing from your retirement accounts with that insider trading that D.C. insiders (right and left)said is legal when they do it, but illegal when you do it.

...but, nothing about any of that. Your battle cry is 'Just stop giving food to poor people.'

...and then, you wonder why conservatives have an image problem???

Yeah. 'The Stoopid Party' is a pretty good descriptive, isn't it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama and the Progressives have so over-used the strawman argument technique that now everyone is doing it. It allows you to sound morally superior, knowledgeable, imperious, indignant, smug, smart, sarcastic and on the undeniable right side of an issue . . . whatever you want. But its all BS because your premise is made up just to support your argument against it.

"as conservatives, we don't like government giving our money to poor folks, but it's ok to give our money to farmers" and " (Our) battle cry is 'Just stop giving food to poor people." Come on Warren, cut the crap if you would like to be taken seriously here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Democrats called an amendment that opened the door to states to impose work requirements on able-bodied food stamp recipients, a proposal backed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), as the last straw. One of the proposals contained language allowing states to drug-test food stamp applicants.

"Nearly 80 percent of the proposed farm bill spending would be set aside for food stamps and nutrition programs."

I would say that "The Reading-comprehension-impaired Party" might be a better description.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Back in the 1970's I was a single father working for a living. Much of my money went to pay for day care for my daughter while I was working. She got 2 good meals at day care during the week which made it easier for me to save at home on meals. I'm sure we quite easily ate on less money than the food stamp recipients of the day - a couple dozen eggs and a sack of spuds and we were good for the week. I think eggs back then were $.79 per dozen and a 10 pound sack of spuds were $1.79 or so. Not an interesting diet by any means but it carried us through the week. Things like home cooked fried chicken was a rare treat back in those days - going out for dinner was out of the question - no money.

Too bad I didn't just succumb to the 'goodness' of our government like so many single moms of the day and go on welfare and food stamps - free medical/dental etc. I could have ate better and not have had to work! And I worked hard - hot roofing isn't easy! Washington state had a program for working single parents to help pay day care expenses back then - I asked them about it but was told "well thats actually for single mothers"! Makes me think they cared more about the women in their programs and not so much about the kids. Even back then it was all about votes!

My daughter and I toughed it out without help from the state - and it was tough going at times. I've never forgotten how slanted this state is towards women - and away from men given the same circumstances.

People today are just not tough enough...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The author need to go back to the article and edit it so that the math is correct.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed in January that 23 million households receive food assistance. The most recent USDA statistics show that the number of food stamp recipients has topped 47 million, an increase of nearly 70 percent since 2008. The average monthly benefit for one beneficiary is $133.44.


The Food Stamp Challenge is an effort to encourage Americans to spend a week or two buying their food using only the budget provided to those dependent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The challenge reflects the allowance of $31.50 per-person, or $4.50 a day, that an individual receives under the SNAP program."

I think you left about $100 out of the second paragraph.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The fact of the matter is that Demsters are radically bent on keeping their charges addicted to food stamps and nothing less will suffice. Like indentured servants, anything which frees their constituents from free goodies is considered a non-starter.
So whenever the Demsters block this or that, rest assured the pork is more than about doing business in Washington.
Regardless, there is really little point in attempting to gain good governance out of Washington, especially with Obama Inc in the background. One party rule is really where things are headed, even as they posture otherwise - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/08/the-lefts-march-towards-totalitarian-rule-one-party-at-a-time-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
By the way, I guess they would have to debate the 11 million (or 30 million or however many it ACTUALLY ends up being) new SNAP cards they will have to issue for the new democrat voters invited across our southern border with their "comprehensive immigration" legislation they are trying to jam up our collective a**es. Gotta feed em as well as buy em cars doncha know!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You forgot giving them free phones.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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