CHN: Senate to Take Up Bipartisan Farm Bill, While House to Vote Again on Harmful SNAP Cuts
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved (20-1) its bipartisan version of the Farm Bill on June 13, clearing the bill for Senate floor action as early as this week. The bill includes the reauthorization of SNAP/food stamps but without the deep cuts and harmful changes to SNAP that were included in the bill the House rejected on May 18. The Senate bill maintains current work requirements and eligibility requirements, unlike the House bill that expanded work requirements and tightened eligibility requirements. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) called the Senate bill, “carefully considered, positive, and bipartisan,” and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) said the Senate version was “a farm bill that works for everyone.” Advocates are concerned that harmful amendments related to work requirements, eligibility restrictions, and privatization will surface when the bill comes to the Senate floor, and they are working to urge senators to reject bad amendments and preserve the bipartisan nature of the bill. The bill will need 60 votes to pass the Senate.
Even though the House bill was rejected in May, House leaders may bring the bill back up for another vote this week. Some members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus opposed the bill in May because they wanted the GOP leadership to first take up a conservative-backed immigration bill that advocates oppose. The House is expected to vote on this and another harmful immigration bill this week (see related article in this Human Needs Report for more information on this), and then take up its version of the Farm Bill again. Under the rules, the House only has until June 22 to re-vote on the Farm Bill, although it could vote to extend that deadline. Advocates strongly oppose the House Farm Bill, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates would cause more than 1 million low-income households with more than 2 million people – particularly low-income working families with children – to lose their benefits altogether or have them reduced. Roughly 265,000 children in low-income families would also lose access to free meals at school. For more information about the harsh work requirements and other bad changes in the House Farm Bill, see the May 21 Human Needs Report, CHN’s Protecting Basic Needs resource page, and the recording of a webinar CHN cosponsored with CBPP, Feeding America, and FRAC.