“House Committee OKs massive cuts to food stamps in farm bill”


NBC NEWS

By Ned Resnikoff

The Republican-controlled House Agriculture Committee on Thursday approved a version of the 2013 farm bill that cuts more than $20 billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over 10 years.

A handful of House Democrats have vowed to oppose the legislation until some of the SNAP funding is restored, as George Zornick reported in The Nation.

“The $20.5 billion cut in SNAP is a poison pill,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., at a Thursday press conference. “It means that we shouldn’t be supporting the farm bill.”

Farm bills are sprawling pieces of legislation that regulate, fund, and subsidize a variety of  programs related to farming, agriculture, and food production. In addition to cutting food stamps, this particular bill would cut a certain kind of farming subsidy call direct payments. The bill is expected to reach the House floor for a full vote in June.

FULL  ARTICLE

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“Deal reached for stopping spike in milk prices”


By By MARY CLARE JALONICK and ALAN FRAM | Associated Press – 8 hrs ago

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The top leaders in both parties on the House and Senate Agriculture committees have agreed to a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that expired in October, a move that could head off a possible doubling of milk prices next month.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., indicated the House could vote on the bill soon, though House leaders have not yet agreed to put the bill on the floor. In addition to the one-year extension that has the backing of the committees, the House GOP is also considering two other extension bills: a one-month extension and an even smaller bill that would merely extend dairy policy that expires Jan. 1.

Expiration of those dairy programs could mean higher prices at the grocery store within a few weeks. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Americans face the prospect of paying $7 for a gallon of milk if the current dairy program lapsed and the government returned to a 1948 formula for calculating milk price supports.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that Republican leaders had not decided how they would proceed on the farm extension, though a vote could come as soon as Monday. Boehner has pushed back on passage of a new five-year farm bill for months, saying there were not enough votes to bring it to the House floor after the House Agriculture Committee approved it in July. The Senate passed its version of a farm bill in June.

The prospect of higher milk prices has motivated some action. The bipartisan extension also includes disaster assistance to farmers affected by a lingering drought this year, along with extensions to other farm programs that expired in October.  FULL ARTICLE

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