It should come as no surprise that the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3102 – the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013. The Statement of Administration Policy notes the bill would result in millions of Americans losing access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – one of the nation’s strongest defenses against hunger and poverty. According to the statement – the cuts would affect a broad array of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet – including working families with children, senior citizens, veterans and adults who are still looking for work. The Administration adds that slashing SNAP also weakens the nation’s farm and rural economies. Congress should instead approach the reauthorization of the farm bill in a comprehensive manner. The Administration has called for the enactment of a multi-year farm bill that supports rural America while achieving significant deficit reduction. The President’s Budget – the statement continues – proposes specific balanced reforms that would accomplish this goal without creating hardship for vulnerable Americans. The Administration is urging Congress to follow that path and reject the harmful cuts included in H.R. 3102. If Congress does send the legislation to the President – his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.
House Democrats Hope to Get the Votes to Stop SNAP Cuts
House Democrats and anti-hunger advocates are hoping to find 20 Republicans to vote against the nutrition bill that would cut 39-billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over 10 years. A vote on the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act is expected Thursday. According to The Hagstrom Report – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – speaking at a news conference on the Capitol grounds – questioned why the House would take up a bill that undermines the nation’s concept of itself. She also expressed optimism that Democrats could win this vote. As for this bill’s role in allowing the farm bill to go to conference – Pelosi said Republicans have other ways to get to conference – including the farm-program-only farm bill approved by the House. While all House Democrats voted against that bill – Pelosi said it is still a path to conference. She stressed that farmers and consumers need a farm bill.
Senate Ag Chair Addresses House Nutrition Bill on Senate Floor
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act being considered by the House would kick millions of children and their families off of food assistance. She says the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds that 14-million people will stop receiving food assistance over the next decade the right way – as the economy improves and they get back on their feet financially. But she says the bill from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would eliminate families from food assistance the wrong way – eliminating food help to those most in need. According to Stabenow – millions would stop receiving assistance next year – including 1.7-million poor, unemployed adults with an average income of about 25-hundred dollars a year; 2.1-million low-income working families and seniors; and 210-thousand children who would lose school lunches.
Stabenow admits there have been occasions of fraud and abuse in the food assistance program. She says that’s why the Senate Farm Bill includes major reforms to crack down on misuse of the program to make sure the help goes to those who are truly in need. Stabenow says this bill in the House is nothing more than an extremely divisive, extremely partisan political exercise that is going nowhere. In addition – she says it is jeopardizing passage of a five-year farm bill. Stabenow says farmers, ranchers, small towns, rural communities, our children and families don’t deserve this. She says it’s time to stop the political games around hunger and poverty in America and time to work together to pass a farm bill, grow the economy and reduce the need for food assistance the right way.
NFU Urges House to Defeat H.R. 3102, Appoint Farm Bill Conferees
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson did his part to convince members of the House to vote against the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 Wednesday. In a letter to House leadership – Johnson urged a no vote on the legislation and asked that conferees be named to the farm bill conference committee instead. According to Johnson – family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and low-income families have waited long enough. He said the House needs to defeat this partisan legislation and address farm programs and nutrition together in a single, comprehensive five-year farm bill. Johnson said the 39-billion dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program contained in H.R. 3102 would deny benefits to at least four-million low-income Americans and serve to make compromise with the Senate-passed version of the 2013 Farm Bill even more challenging. Johnson asked House leadership to listen to the men and women who feed, clothe and fuel the nation – quickly defeat the bill – and move the conference process forward as quickly as possible.
Source: NAFB News Service