CHN: Farm Bill Expires as Negotiations Continue
Lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement on the Farm Bill, which includes the reauthorization of SNAP/food stamps, before the 2014 law expired on September 30. While many programs are affected by this, SNAP and nearly all nutrition programs will continue to operate and distribute benefits. The heads of the Agriculture Committees in the House and Senate have said they hope to have a conference report, which works out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills, ready for a vote in the lame duck session after the November elections. The Senate passed (86-11) its bipartisan version of the Farm Bill on June 28 without the deep cuts and harmful changes to SNAP that were included in the bill the House narrowly passed (213-211) on June 21.
The Senate bill maintains current work requirements and eligibility requirements, unlike the House bill that expanded work requirements and tightened eligibility requirements. 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 under the House bill.
Advocates like those at FRAC will “continue to urge policymakers to protect and strengthen SNAP and reject the House Farm Bill.” If a new bill is not enacted by late December, an extension will be needed to continue additional programs that would expire then. For more information, see the July 23 Human Needs Report, CHN’s Protecting Basic Needs resource page, and the recording of a webinar CHN cosponsored with CBPP, Feeding America, and FRAC.