Yesterday, after two years of working on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, lawmakers unveiled a new version which includes $8 billion in cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as Food Stamps) over a decade. The House is scheduled to consider the 2014 legislation on Wednesday while the Senate has not scheduled its vote. The proposed legislation represents a compromise between the Republicans and Democrats. The House voted 217 to 210 largely on party lines, on a previous version of the bill that cut $40 billion over a decade from SNAP in September 2013. Click here to see which NJ representatives voted for the cuts last year.
In anticipation of the release of 2014 Farm Bill that would include cuts to SNAP, last week Mayor Luis Quintana sent a letter to the Senate and House leaders. Along with other urban mayors around the country (see Farm Bill Letter), Mayor Quintana expressed his concern that Newark residents would be hurt by any cuts to the federal nutrition program.
Every five years, the nation’s Farm Bill is reauthorized. It is a package of farm and food legislation that sets the nation’s agriculture policy and represents. Food assistance programs comprise 80 percent of the bill’s total spending and the “farm” portion is roughly the other 20 percent of the spending. The last bill was passed in 2008 appropriating $289 billion to nutrition programs (such as food stamps) as well as farm subsidies, environmental and conservation programs, bio-energy programs and agricultural trade programs. The House and the Senate developed versions of a farm bill but did not come to agreement on the bill before it expired in 2012. The version that was released on Monday night is a compromise on the cuts to the program. See the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities assessment on the latest version of the Farm Bill http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?