US House Slashes $35.8 Billion From Nutrition Programs With Passage Of H.R. 5652
MAY 10, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot
President pledges to veto; Dems blast the measure…
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The measure slashes $35.8 billion from nutrition programs under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction. The White House on Wednesday issued a statement opposing the legislation, and pledging that President Obama will veto it, saying the bill’s “unbalanced provisions fail the test of fairness and shared responsibility.”
“At the same time as the House is advancing tax cuts that benefit the most fortunate Americans, H.R. 5652 would impose deep budget cuts that cost jobs and hurt middle class and vulnerable Americans – especially seniors, veterans, and children,” the White House said.
The measure was designed to reduce the budget deficit, while also overriding deep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget included in last summer’s debt deal, which are mandated to begin in 2013 because of the failure of the so-called Supercommittee to agree to a deficit-reduction plan. But the GOP focused solely on cutting social services programs. The vote was 218-99. 16 Republicans opposed it, as did 100% of the Democrats who voted.
“Today, my Republican friends have brought to the floor a reconciliation bill that actually makes sequestration look good,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass).
In the bill, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka Food Stamps) eligibility is tightened; the Social Services Block Grant, which funds Meals on Wheels, is ended; the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund under the 2010 healthcare law is ended; the Federal Medicaid match to states is reduced, and there are new stricter eligibility standards for Medicaid required. The bill leaves pending mandatory cuts in place, including cuts to Medicare. It overrides $72 billion in cuts to the Pentagon and on defense spending mandated by sequestration, but adds $315 billion total in new cuts.
Congress Is Ready to Fight Over Deep Food Stamp Cuts [AGAIN]
May 16, 2013 – 2:39 PM ET George Zornick – TheNation
Late Wednesday night, the House Agriculture Committee passed a comprehensive, $940 billion farm bill. This was a first step towards making a real, five-year bill law—something the last Congress failed to do, and something that, by all accounts, this Congress deems an absolute necessity.
But one central issue could derail the farm legislation once again: food stamp cuts. Republicans are demanding even deeper cuts than what they proposed last year, and Thursday morning on Capitol Hill, several House Democrats made it clear they are willing to let the farm bill die if it contains those steep cuts.
The bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee last night slashed $20.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, $4 billion more than what the committee proposed last year. These cuts would take away food stamps from nearly 2 million people, and several hundred thousand low-income children would stop receiving free school meals.
At a press conference Thursday morning, several prominent Democrats drew red lines around the cuts. “Lest anyone think that this [debate] is going quietly into the night, you have another think coming,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro. “Maybe, and I can’t say for sure, maybe we’ll take a look at whether this bill can move at all.”
Representative Jim McGovern was more direct. “The $20.5 billion cut in SNAP is a poison pill. It means that we shouldn’t be supporting the farm bill,” he said.
The stakes are extremely high here. The agricultural community—from farmers to the multibillion-dollar industry players—badly wants a new farm bill, and powerful senators from rural states, in particular, are bent on enacting it. President Obama has repeatedly pressed Congress to pass one.
These threats from McGovern and DeLauro, who were joined by Representatives Marcia Fudge and Barbara Lee at Thursday’s event, carry real weight. The backdrop is that many conservatives oppose the House Agriculture committee bill in part because the SNAP cuts are too small—Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget calls for $135 billion in cuts to food stamps and for the program to be block-granted to the states.
Many far-right conservatives will likely oppose the farm bill for this reason, and for many other reasons—voting yes on a nearly trillion-dollar bill isn’t easy for them. That means Democrats will be needed to secure House passage, and if liberal members can mobilize enough colleagues to join them in steadfast opposition to the food stamp cuts, the farm bill might not pass. (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did not return a request for comment about how she would instruct members on this issue.)
White House Issues Statement Of Support For Senate’s 2013 Farm Bill, With Reservations
MAY 20, 2013 obamafoodorama
No support for proposed cuts to Food Stamps program; Congressional Budget Office updates score for the bill as it is introduced on Senate Floor…
The White House on Monday afternoon issued a statement of support for Senate passage of the $955 billion Farm Bill, S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. The statement from the Office of Management and Budget came as Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the bill on the Senate Floor, hailing it as a jobs bill (her remarks are below).
The OMB statement said the Administration supports reforms to farm programs included in the Senate bill, but would like to see elements from President Obama’s own budget concerning “crop insurance and commodity program savings” included in the legislation “prior to final passage.”
The statement also indicates that President Obama is not happy with a proposed $400 million annual cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka Food Stamps. The Senate bill offers this cut each year for the next decade.
“The Administration also strongly supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a cornerstone of our Nation’s food assistance safety net, which is why it was not subject to cuts in the President’s Budget,” the statement said. “SNAP helps families put food on the table, while also benefitting farm and rural economies.”
Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO START WORKING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA!!