House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson expressed his strong opposition to H.R. 3102 on the House floor Thursday – calling the bill another example of the Republican Majority’s misplaced priorities. Peterson noted his nearly four years of work on the farm bill and his belief it would be possible to find middle ground and make reasonable, responsible reforms to nutrition programs. But according to Peterson – the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 isn’t reasonable or responsible. He said partisan amendments that led to the failure of the Agriculture Committee’s bipartisan farm bill are included in the bill. Peterson added there is no reason to pass the bill.
He said the notion the House must pass this bill to go to farm bill conference is not true. For one – he said H.R. 2642 could be conferenced with the Senate’s farm bill. In addition – Peterson said H.R. 3102 wouldn’t go anywhere in the Senate or be signed by the President. All the bill would do – he said – is make it harder – if not impossible – to pass a new farm bill this Congress.
The bill contains twice as much in cuts as the House Agriculture Committee originally sought for the program and it was devised by a task force led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) after an integrated farm bill failed on the House floor this summer. The House later passed a bill just dealing with the rest of the farm bill, including crop subsidies and crop insurance, before the August recess.
Rural Republicans appeared torn on the new bill, which has 10 times the level of cuts to the food stamp program as the Senate-passed farm bill. The difference could make it impossible to complete a planned House-Senate farm bill conference.”You’re talking about $40 billion in cuts vs. $4 billion, which is a huge gap,” said Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.). “We need that farm bill and cannot do an extension of the Pelosi farm bill. If that happens we are really going to get screamed at the town halls.”
Farm bill supporter Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) who is whipping the food stamp bill, predicted that it would pass and that some compromise with the Senate will be found “It will pass and we will get a farm bill,” he predicted.The measure gets its savings by preventing states from waiving work requirements for recipients.
Source: NAFB News Service