Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Democratic takeover of House ends Republican efforts to require work for food stamps, clears way for Farm Bill

The Democratic takeover of the House "effectively terminated" Republican efforts to add work requirements to the food-stamp program, "although it has not been excised officially," Chuck Abbott reports for

The election "could be the jolt that breaks the stalemate in Senate-House negotiations over the Farm Bill, headlined by the battle over food stamps," Abbott reports, citing unnamed analysts. "In any case, the Farm Bill was the only item on the agenda for food and ag groups in the lame-duck session. House Republicans are running out of leverage on the Farm Bill, since they will soon lose their majority."

“If the House of Representatives wants a five-year Farm Bill … they better fish or cut bait and give up on that,” Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa told reporters. "Otherwise, he said, Congress was likely to pass a stopgap revival of the farm policy law that expired on September 30 and begin work anew in 2019 on a farm bill," Abbott reports.

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who is expected to regain the Agriculture Committee chairmanship in January, told The Hutchinson Leader last week that he warned Republicans four months ago that "this food-stamp stuff . . . was not going to fly. It wasn’t necessarily that I was against so much what they were doing, it was that the Senate wasn’t going to do it." He said Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, "a Republican, has been the most vehement against this in these meetings, more so than" him and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. "He wants a bipartisan bill, and he knows he’s not going to get one if that’s in there. It looks like they will come around on that."

The House bill would require “work-capable” adults ages 18 to 59 to work at least 20 hours a week or spend equivalent time in job training or workfare to qualify for food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. President Trump said today that he would like to see the bill include work rules, but acknowledged that it would take perhaps 10 Democratic votes to get that done in the current Senate.

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