House OKs Cut To Food Stamps
WASHINGTON (AP) – After years of setbacks, a nearly $100 billion-a-year compromise farm bill cleared the House on Wednesday despite strong opposition from conservatives who sought a bigger cut in food stamps.
The five-year bill, which preserves generous crop subsidies, heads to the Senate, where approval seems certain. The White House said President Barack Obama would sign it.
The measure, which the House approved 251-166, had backing from the Republican leadership team, even though it makes smaller cuts to food stamps than they would have liked.
The local Republican members of Congress, David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Bill Johnson of Ohio, all voted in favor of the measure.
The bill ultimately would cut about $800 million a year from the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, or around 1 percent. The House had sought a 5 percent cut.
The legislation also would continue to heavily subsidize major crops for the nation’s farmers while eliminating some subsidies and shifting them toward more politically defensible insurance programs.
The final savings in the food stamp program would come from cracking down on some states that seek to boost individual food stamp benefits by giving people small amounts of federal heating assistance that they don’t need. That heating assistance, sometimes as low as $1 per person, triggers higher benefits, and some critics see that practice as circumventing the law. The compromise bill would require states to give individual recipients at least $20 in heating assistance before a higher food stamp benefit could kick in.
Some Democrats said the food stamp cut still is too high.