After three years of inaction, failed votes and false starts, the House of Representatives passed a farm bill Wednesday — finally. The $956 billion spending legislation will contain funding for agricultural subsidies, food stamps and other nutrition programs, and in a sign of true compromise, nobody other than those who negotiated it seems terribly thrilled with the final product. Most of the bill’s spending goes toward SNAP, the federal food stamps program.
Republicans had originally wanted to cut SNAP funding by $40 billion; the current bill cuts it by $8.6 billion, although that’s not quite as severe of a cut as it may sounds. As Bustle reported:
[P]art of that will be offset with state funds, and in totality, only 4 percent of 45 million Americans on food stamps will be affected. The specifics of who gets hit by the these cuts is somewhat complex, but in essence, it raises eligibility requirements for a certain subset of SNAP recipients — specifically, those who receive home heating aid.
While the bill was negotiated by a bipartisan team of House and Senate leaders, plenty of lawmakers on both sides took issue with the bill. The majority of Democrats — 103, to be exact — opposed the bill, mostly because of the food-stamps cuts. Meanwhile, 63 Republicans opposed it, many of whom claimed that it doesn’t cut enough.
“The farm bill conference report is just more business as usual and reverses the victory for common sense that taxpayers won last year,” said GOP Rep. Marlin Stutzman. “This logrolling prevents the long-term reforms that both farm programs and food stamps deserve.”
The bill is expected to pass the Senate, and the White House has said that President Obama will sign it.