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Block of ramen noodles against a blue background.
Now that House Republicans have passed a farm bill minus the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, what happens to the nutrition program? Although it won't expire and disappear without reauthorization, giving Democrats some leverage in the fight to preserve it, Republicans have certainly set the stage for the marrow-deep cuts they want. Corby Kummer explains:
Why not keep the agricultural parts, even if they benefit only industrial agriculture, in what's called the farm bill, and call the food-assistance portion what it is? That would get the farm bill back on the rails, and stop letting SNAP debates hijack every vote.

Here's why not: because that means, as anyone in the anti-hunger community recognizes, pushing the 47 million Americans on food stamps onto an ice floe. The last time Republicans tried to saw off food stamps from the bill, as Jerry Hagstrom recounts in an excellent overview of the most recent farm bill failure, it set back food assistance efforts for more than a decade[.]

That most recent failure, by the way, was in 1996 under Newt Gingrich, when food stamps were peeled off and included in welfare reform, to disastrous effect.

Republicans also included various other gems in their farm-only farm bill, like a provision that would delay improvements in food safety systems and one repealing the part of the law that forces Congress to actually pass a farm bill to avoid dire consequences.

The big question is what happens next. If the House and Senate go into conference on the farm bill, the Senate won't go along with leaving food stamps out altogether. But will the House be able to extract bigger cuts than the $4 billion the Senate already made? If the Senate won't give in to the giant cuts House Republicans want, will John Boehner bring it to a vote? Republicans now have a lot of time and decision points to use in pushing for funding levels that will leave more Americans hungry.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In Georgia (14+ / 0-)

    the numbers are about 20% of the population are food insecure,  one in four children, number of food stamp recipients up 62% since the start of the recession, and povety in the metro Atlanta suburbs up 122%.  One in ten seniors are below the poverty level.

    To cut food assistance programs at the federal level is criminal,  it will cause serious harm to the health and welfare of millions of people.

    •  Seniors who are voting for Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:18:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm wiling to bet (0+ / 0-)

        that's no more true of the elderly poor than any other group of poor.  It's just that today's seniors spent their working lives mostly in an econoimcallt healthy (and somewhat more just) America, and thus dispropotionately had opportunities to accumulate wealth.

        It's in the same category with the assumption that all  Boomers were/are white, suburban, and upper-middle-class.  In both cases, the main basis for the statement is that it must be true because I've seen it on TV.

        "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

        by ActivistGuy on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 05:21:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And will continue to vote for R's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if my canvassing today is an reflection on their thinking, which is that all of the cuts are a result of Obamacare.

        "Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me."-- Harry S. Truman

        by irmaly on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 05:55:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The reason Snap was in with the farm bill (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Helpless, JerryNA, OooSillyMe

      is that there is a lot of big agra business looking for big subsidies  that has been using SNAP as a carrot to get their pork gravy.

      Those ramen noodles you picture work out at $.06 a meal so I've been using them to add starch to my forage. I'm maybe being a little optimistic but I think with SNAP out the farm bill is going nowhere, otherwise a lot of us are screwed.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 05:20:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are there no food banks? (8+ / 0-)

    There's PLENTY of food given to food banks every day!  Make the poor jump through hoops in order to get their daily bread.

    That way they won't have time to revolt.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:15:19 AM PDT

  •  And Ds in the Senate are refusing to say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, DSPS owl

    why they supported starving Americans at all by approving cuts to SNAP to begin with, so there's no guarantee that they won't approve deeper cuts. Thanks, alleged Democrat Dick Durbin....

  •  So this "producers only" farm bill... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, blueoregon, OooSillyMe

    ...costs more than the farmers and food assistance farm bill? I think I heard someone (Chris Hayes?) report that the GOP put into place additional spending and subsidies to the bill such that it actually costs MORE than POTUS' proposal.

    So much for the already tattered fig leaf of "reducing Federal spending".

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:54:56 AM PDT

  •  no snap (6+ / 0-)

    no farm bill democrats need to draw a line in the sand. for once.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:15:27 AM PDT

  •  Finally got an answer from a staffer. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renzo capetti, DSPS owl

    "It was a compromise. ... it wasn't as bad as the original bill passed out of committee."

    I asked the staffer to emphasize it isn't okay to kick people when they're down and that this will harm a lot of people. I also told him it would give impetus to those who want to end SNAP that Senator Durbin voted to cut it.

    Don't know if it will make any difference, but I tried. We'll see.

  •  What part of "bread and circuses" do they not (0+ / 0-)


    Removing the bread and having the circuses increasingly out of reach only does one thing... and having a militarized police force isn't going to stop it for long.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:46:53 AM PDT

  •  I am glad to see this (7+ / 0-)

    Just checked my local news website and the headline from the AP says this:

    FACT CHECK: Farm bill doesn't end food stamps
    The article goes on to say how angry Democrats are just making shit up because of unions. Finally about 3/4 down the writer admits that the "food stamp advocates" (Democrats) fears might come to fruition and the program would be cut drastically.
    Until that (food stamp bill) happens, food stamps will continue as they are. They are paid for by annual spending bills and the Democratic Senate and President Barack Obama have strongly objected to making major cuts.
    Nice framing Mary Clare Jalonick of the AP. Grrr.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:03:40 PM PDT

  •  Grand Bargain fetish (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrJersey, Stude Dude, Lefty Coaster

    If in the interest of pursuing a "Grand Bargain" this Whitehouse would throw the poor under a bus in favor of the Flying public(Congress) with the FAA Sequester carve out then this does not bode well.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:04:08 PM PDT

  •  come on Dems, pound their asses into the ground (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Lefty Coaster

    stand for the people in need

    the employment is at depression levels if the old formulas are used to compute unemployment

    the Republicans are transferring wealth to the rich and blaming the poor

    Thom Hartman makes a better case for the dems than they do themselves

    take up the traditional democratic issues

    but wait,

    this probably won't happen

    as pointed out in the excellent book on ACORN by John Atlas "Seeds of Change" about the largest anti poverty effort,

    the dems walked away from the issue of poverty by 1980

    so this is another example where the dems can take a moral stand, but

    will they ......

  •  Not that I like the SNAP cuts (0+ / 0-)

    But, it may be a good thing in the future if the SNAP program is detached from the farm bill.

    It might ultimately lead to fewer handouts to Big Ag, if and when Democrats are in control.  Attaching SNAP to the Farm Bill was what got urban Democrats to vote for subsidies to Big Ag.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:10:01 PM PDT

    •  Don't kid yourself.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Democrats have their own palms out to corporate ag. And it starts at the very top. Just google "vilsack monsanto"

      (you actually don't even have to type "monsanto." It comes up automatically when you type "vilsack.")

      The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

      by masswaster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:41:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe farm-state Dems (0+ / 0-)

        But Dems from places like New York and SF have zero reason to vote for it if SNAP is detached.

        29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

        by TDDVandy on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:58:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's only takes a few corporate bribed Democrats (0+ / 0-)

          to fully empower the corporate owned Republicans.

          And every state has farming. And most politicians can be bought. It's their top priority.

          The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

          by masswaster on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 01:38:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The price of ramen has gone from .10 to .25 (3+ / 0-)

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:16:05 PM PDT

  •  Christian nation what BS. Feed the poor means (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    just that.  I usually don't comment because I can't believe this Republican Congress and how mean spirited they are.

    Do not adjust your mind, there is a flaw in reality.

    by Shrew in Shrewsbury on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:33:49 PM PDT

  •  It will yet another unforgivable travesty... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, JerryNA

    if Senate Democrats go along with even $4B in SNAP cuts. They should  put forward a bill that INCREASES it. If the Repiglicans blocks it, let corporate farms go hungry too. They'll set the GOP straight fast enough if their ox is gored.

    But that would mean Democrats would have to stand up to their own agricorp sponsors.

    Who sees that happening?

    The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:37:45 PM PDT

  •  More about these Economic Royalists (0+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:40:24 PM PDT

  •  so, using your logic, we should also attach (0+ / 0-)

    education spending to the Farm Bill.  Or you pick your favorite social safety net program...attach it to something completely unrelated, but needs to pass.

    Is that what we've come to?  Is that the only way we can govern ourselves?

    When a 100 billion dollar "Farm Bill" is $80 billion in Food's no longer a Farm Bill.  

    At least call it what it is...a Food Stamp Bill.

    You probably object to that, as well, because of the soundbite.

    Cause he gets up in the morning, And he goes to work at nine, And he comes back home at five-thirty, Gets the same train every time.

    by Keith930 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:40:42 PM PDT

    •  It's not unrelated (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Unrelated" is the bill in North Carolina (I think) that attached serious abortion restrictions to a motorcycle safety bill.

      The food stamp program was designed in part to increase sales of agricultural products, a second way to bolster farmers. It's not completely unrelated, and not just stuffing two things together for political reasons.

  •  A pragmatist would say... (0+ / 0-)

    ...well lets pass the farm bill as it is because we need to get something done. And it is an OK bill, not everything we want but incremental progress. We'll work to save SNAP later.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:44:00 PM PDT

  •  another victory for RW radio! 20 years attacking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    the the food stamp programs and recipients along with all welfare programs, lowering the bar for the GOP, and getting more and more of these stupid greedy fuckers to congress.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:46:36 PM PDT

  •  Firm believers of the prosperity gospel... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you aren't rich, you are an evil sinner. That's no doubt how GOPers "morally" justify stamping their boots into the faces of the poor.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:50:14 PM PDT

  •  End the subsidies to Big Ag (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, Helpless

    Doing so would resolve several serious problems, including this. In the words of Noam Chomsky:

    Few borders in the world are so heavily guarded by sophisticated technology, and so subject to impassioned rhetoric, as the one that separates Mexico from the United States, two countries with amicable diplomatic relations.

    That border was established by U.S. aggression during the 19th century. But it was kept fairly open until 1994, when President Bill Clinton initiated Operation Gatekeeper, militarizing it.

    Before then, people had regularly crossed it to see relatives and friends. It's likely that Operation Gatekeeper was motivated by another event that year: the imposition of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is a misnomer because of the words "free trade."

    Doubtless the Clinton administration understood that Mexican farmers, however efficient they might be, couldn't compete with highly subsidized U.S. agribusiness, and that Mexican businesses couldn't compete with U.S. multinationals, which under NAFTA rules must receive special privileges like "national treatment" in Mexico. Such measures would almost inevitably lead to a flood of immigrants across the border.

    from Who Owns the Earth?

    an article in In These Times by Chomsky.

    It is the sickness and greed of capitalism that speaks of "Free Trade," which means objects can cross any border with special privileges while people are labeled "illegal" after privileged "Free Trade" has driven them from their small farms because they can not compete with US government subsidies.

    When impoverished people seek work in the country that dreamed up the hypocritical concept of "Free Trade," they die by the thousands in the deserts while trying to cross the US borders and tens of thousands more are imprisoned in private jails. [What kind of sick society has private prisons?]

    Migrant workers who manage to navigate the borders and find transient work are paid peanuts and are treated like garbage by Big Ag, those proponents of "Free Trade" agreements and their servants in government.

    Big Ag shames the United States as do Big Ag lackeys in government.

  •  Sorry Jacob Javits nt (0+ / 0-)

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 05:16:49 PM PDT

  •  Would the Senate pass a farm bill with no (0+ / 0-)

    food stamp stuff in it at all?  I mean, if they did, food stamps continue as they are, right?

    Seems like that's actually our best option. Have the conference chip away a little at the pork added to the House bill but otherwise go with the House bill. Then the R's get no cuts to food stamps.

    Yes I know it puts food stamps at risk if we separate them, but it strikes me as a ship that has already sailed. This battle will keep being fought and unless dems take over the house, it's essentially lost. Passing a bill without food stamps is probably the best of a list of bad choices, unless we feel that no farm bill at all is even better an option than that.

    Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to and check out New World Orders

    by eparrot on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 06:41:08 PM PDT

  •  Republicans lay an egg,... (0+ / 0-)

    it hatches a plan, stamp program is ”clucked”.

    Glottal fricative and breathy-voiced mid-low central unrounded vowel, repeated.

    by glb3 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 06:41:09 PM PDT

  •  Let's starve the American people, God, this is (0+ / 0-)

    what the old Soviet System did to insure social control, it did not work.  Now we got more of it here.

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