House Farm Bill Splits Democrats

With the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee approving a draft of the farm bill containing severe cuts to the Food Stamp Program, the bill moves forward to face an unknown future before the full House. While the bill was approved by the heads of the House Ag Committee, strong opposition from liberal Democrats and fiscally conservative Republicans could jeopardize its future.

While both the Senate and the House are on the brink of passing versions of the farm bill, the future of the legislation is still up in the air. In the House, the bill’s deep cuts to the Food Stamp Program have angered liberal Democrats, sparking an internecine conflict that could jeopardize the future of the bill.

In particular, liberals are upset that Ranking House Ag Committee member Colin Peterson (D-Minnesota) approved the nutritional cuts (a move that he says was pragmatic). Many Democrats are urging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to reject the bill. Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro was blunt in her criticism of the bill, stating, “This bill increases subsidies to millionaires. This is a bill that robs the poor to pay the rich. This bill is an outrage.”

Representative Peterson claims that the bill was merely savvy politics. The Senate is likely to reject deep cuts to food stamps, and, since the Republicans on the Ag Committee rejected his modified food stamps suggestions, approval of the bill was necessary in order to allow for full debate. Blocking the bill in committee, Peterson said, would not help pass a new set of farm legislation.

Minority Leader Pelosi seems to share Peterson’s sentiments, as one of her spokespeople recently released a statement saying, “It is important for the process to move forward, and we are confident that the deficiencies in the House bill will be corrected in the conference with the Senate.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer