News

White House threatens veto of farm bill that drops food stamps

White House threatens veto of farm bill that drops food stamps

The White House has threatened to veto a Republican-drafted farm bill. Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House has threatened to veto a Republican-drafted farm bill, scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday, that expands the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program but omits food stamps for the poor.

The farm subsidy bill was unveiled late Wednesday by House Republican leaders, who were embarrassed by the defeat last month of a $500 billion, five-year farm bill that included the largest cuts in food stamps in a generation.

Fiscally conservative Republicans wanted more cuts in farm program and food stamp spending. Leaders said no amendments would be allowed to the new bill, which they hoped to pass before adjourning for the week on Thursday.

Traditionally, farm bills are enacted by a partnership of rural lawmakers interested in agricultural programs and urban supporters of food stamps and other public nutrition programs.

But Republican leaders split the bill in two with the aim of attracting enough votes from their party to pass the farm subsidy portion. A separate food stamps bill would, in theory, come later.

In a statement late on Wednesday, the White House said it would veto the 608-page farm subsidy bill because it “does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms” and it omitted food stamps, formally named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“This bill … fails to reauthorize nutrition programs, which benefit millions of Americans – in rural, suburban and urban areas alike,” said the White House. “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our nation’s food assistance safety net, and should not be left behind as the rest of the Farm Bill advances.”

The farm subsidy bill would cut spending by $14 billion over 10 years, chiefly by ending the $5 billion a year “direct payment” subsidy. It would expand the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program by 10 percent, or $9 billion, over 10 years, including a provision that would shield crop revenue from drops of more than 11 percent of average.

“Republicans are determined to de-fund nutrition assistance. Shame on you,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield, North Carolina Democrat, when the House opened debate for the day.

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Six powers and Iran to continue nuclear talks past deadline

irankerry

It is the fourth time the parties have extended the terms of the interim deal, which was struck in November 2013 and provided Iran with limited sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to the production of uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.

in National

Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law

nochildleftbehind

It's something most Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree on — an update to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law is much needed and long overdue.

in Lifestyle

Car dashboards that act like smart phones raise safety issues

smartcardash

When it comes to dashboard displays that are more like smart phones, two things are clear: Customers want them, and automakers are intent on supplying them.

in Sports

Embattled Ray Rice still waiting for another shot at the NFL

rayrice

Former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice is waging an unrelenting crusade to get back on the field nearly a year after being booted from the National Football League - along with his $35 million contract - over a heinous case of domestic abuse.

in Sports

Mayweather stripped of title he won in Pacquiao fight

mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been stripped of the welterweight world title he won after beating Manny Pacquiao this year for failing to comply with rules.