House Releases 2012 Draft Farm Bill

July 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The House Agriculture Committee released their version of the 2012 Farm Bill, building upon the Senate draft that came out a few weeks ago. The big news is that the House bill would cut far deeper into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (‘SNAP,’ otherwise known as food stamps). Overall the House bill would cut $35 billion over 10 years, compared to $23 billion in cuts proposed by the Senate.

The House bill follows the Senate’s proposal to generate savings in SNAP by reducing fraud. It goes further by placing more restrictive income and asset limits, which would disqualify thousands of people currently receiving benefits. It also reduces heat assistance and eliminates bonuses to states that increase their SNAP registration. All together, the House farm bill would cut $16 billion from SNAP, which is $12 billion more than the cuts proposed in the Senate bill. While the Congressional budget office estimated that the Senate bill would affect 500,000 households, the anti-poverty and hunger relief group Feeding America estimates that the House bill would affect up to 3 million people.

The other primary difference between the House and Senate bills is how they deal with elimination of direct payments to farmers. The Senate bill included $28.5 billion in crop insurance related subsidies. The House bill includes this as well, but also has a target price program to help farmers through prolonged declines in prices. This is a nod to the Southern peanut, rice, and wheat growers who rely more on price supports and direct payments. The House bill does not include the income restrictions on the crop insurance subsidies that were included in the Senate bill.

The current Farm Bill expires in September. Some members of Congress are already talking about an extension of the current bill in the case that a new farm bill is not passed in time.

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Entry filed under: Agriculture Policy, Farm Policy. Tags: .

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