Thursday, September 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

House and Senate face deep divide over food stamps

By
From page A2 | September 20, 2013 |

WASHINGTON (AP) — Farm-state lawmakers hoping for passage of a farm bill by the end of the year will have to bridge a deep divide between the House and the Senate over the role of the government in helping the nation’s poor.

The House passed a bill Thursday that would make around $4 billion in cuts annually to the almost $80 billion-a-year food stamp program and allow states to put in place broad new work requirements for recipients. A Senate-passed farm bill would make around a tenth of the amount of those cuts, or $400 million a year.

“This bill is designed to give people a hand when they need it most,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said on the House floor just before lawmakers passed the bill. He said the legislation “will put people on the path to self-sufficiency and independence.”

For decades, Congress has combined farm programs with food stamps to garner urban votes for the rural measure. But food stamps have complicated the process this year as House conservatives have called for cuts. The cost of the food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has more than doubled since the Great Recession deepened in 2008. More than 47 million Americans, or 1 in 7, are using the program.

In his defense of SNAP on the House floor, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said that the new bill broke with tradition of backing a “bipartisan success story” supported by Republican leaders like Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole.

The bill, Garamendi said, “throws a monkey wrench” into work requirements under welfare reform passed in the 1990s, scraps job training programs and eliminates both school breakfast and lunch from an estimated 210,000 children and assistance for one in five veterans. It also jeopardizes the passage of a new farm bill.

“The bill’s pernicious legislative text would encourage states to pocket the savings from taking food away from their most impoverished residents,” said Garamendi, who noted that more than 9 in 10 food stamp recipients are children, seniors, disabled or working.

The percentage of people in the eight-county 3rd District who meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of “food insecure” varies between 15.6 and 21.3 percent, according to figures provided by the congressman’s office.

In Yolo County, 31,000 people (17.6 percent) are food-insecure, including 10,960 children (24.4 percent of children in the county).

The White House threatened a veto, and Senate Democrats angrily criticized the level of cuts.

“The Senate will never pass such hateful, punitive legislation,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The Senate passed a bill including both food stamps and farm programs in June. Later that month, the House defeated a farm bill that included both the food and farm programs after conservatives said its food stamp cuts — around $2 billion a year — weren’t high enough.

GOP leaders then split the farm programs from the food stamps and passed a farm-only bill in July. Conservatives crafted the food stamp bill, saying higher cuts would be easier to pass in a stand-alone bill.

Getting the three bills into a House-Senate conference could be tricky under House rules. Republicans said Thursday that one more step is needed — the House will have to hold a procedural vote to allow both the farm and food stamp bills to go to conference. It is unclear if Republicans who pushed to split the two bills will oppose that effort.

Most of current farm law expires at the end of this month, but its effects won’t be felt until the end of the year when some dairy supports expire. Without those supports, milk prices are expected to rise.

Other farm supports won’t expire until next year, but farmers have been frustrated with the drawn-out debate that has now lasted two years, saying they need more government certainty as they manage their farm operations.

The food stamp bill passed by the House would allow states to put the work requirements in place for SNAP recipients but would not force them to. The bill would allow the states to require 20 hours of work activities per week from any able-bodied adult with a child over age 1 who has child care available, and for all parents whose children are over age 6 and attending school.

The bill would allow states to drug-test applicants and would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.

The legislation also would eliminate so-called categorical eligibility, a method used by many states that allows people to qualify for food stamps automatically if they already receive other benefits.

The Senate bill would only find savings by ending a practice in some states of giving low-income people as little as $1 a year in home heating assistance, even when they don’t have heating bills, in order to make them eligible for increased food stamp benefits. The House has a similar provision.

Beyond food stamps, the two chambers will also have to resolve more minor differences in farm policies. The Senate farm bill and the two House bills combined cost roughly $100 billion annually over five years and expand some farm subsidies while eliminating others.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., pleaded with his colleagues on the House floor to vote for the food stamp bill to move the farm bill closer to passage.

“It should not be this hard to pass a bill to make sure that the consumers in this country and around the world have enough to eat,” Lucas said.

————

By Mary Clare Jalonick. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

 
Jurors see Marsh questioned by police

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Grace Garden: Five years of feeding the needy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Bike sale on Friday will benefit King High

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

Wildfire shows explosive growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Per Capita Davis: What to think

By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A3

International Festival moves to park for fourth year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Essay contest underway

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Sudwerk Wet Hop Lager plants seeds for area hops rebirth

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Speakers plumb issues around the Constitution

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Nominate deserving volunteers for top citizen honors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Governor signs bill to support state’s ailing bee population

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Backyard poultry symposium Sunday at UCD

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5

 
Forum will answer questions about new license law

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Australian pop band Dick Diver plays Third Space

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
RepowerYolo hosts solar seminar

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Local Girl Scouts are looking for a few good leaders

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

 
Reneau, Silberstein will read their poetry Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Parents host campaign coffees for Archer

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
PG&E, Dixon company unveil truck that can restore power

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

$12M earmarked for UCD life sciences center in Chile

By Karen Nikos-Rose | From Page: A7

 
.

Forum

She’s had it with his neglect

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Off-leash dogs are a danger

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Davis makes the NY Times

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Affordable housing affects health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Choose to wipe out hunger

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Devils blow out Marauders at Brown Stadium

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS girls pound Mustangs in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Davis captures final nonleague volleyball outing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS golfers blow past St. Francis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Youth softball: Hurricanes win one of two slugfests with Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Youth roundup: These Diamonds are forever in the record books

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Duffy comes up big for Giants in Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Young Devil harriers carry the day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Davis falls to Vintage in a JV shootout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B3

 
DHS girls tennis team stunned at Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

Street-smart tips for safe cycling

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

 
What’s happening, Sept. 18

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Students get into the act with Shakespeare

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Eagle Scout project makes life easier for Yolo Basin volunteers

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Arts

 
Wineaux: Back and forth in the high and low debate

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9

Catie Curtis brings folk-rock ‘Flying Dream’ to The Palms on Friday Sept. 19

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Jean Botelli

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, September 18, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6