The House of Representatives, late Thursday afternoon, passed on a narrow vote, H.R. 3102, The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. It is the nutrition title of the farm bill. Thursday’s vote was 217-210 with 217 Republicans voting for the bill and 15 against. 195 Democrats voted against the bill. One Republican and Five Democrats did not vote. All four of the Kansas delegation voted in favor of the bill.
H.R. 3102 would cut nearly $40 billion in SNAP funding, formerly known as food stamps. The Senate version of the farm bill contains $4 billion in SNAP funding cuts.
Here’s reaction on Thursday’s passage of H.R. 3102:
Kansas 1st District Congressman Tim Huelskamp
“Participation in SNAP has grown 83% since 2008, and will cost us nearly $80 billion this year alone. I am glad that Congress has taken steps to reign in this out-of-control entitlement, and I believe this bill does that. The work requirements in this bill go to the heart of the reforms I have been advocating for since I began working on the farm bill nearly three years ago. It follows a simple line of thought—if you’re a healthy adult and don’t have someone relying on you to care for them, you ought to earn the benefits you receive. Look for work. Start job training to improve your skills. Or do community service. But you can no longer sit on your couch – or ride a surfboard like Jason Greenslate – and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you.”
Kansas 2nd District Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins
“In July, the House passed serious reforms to our nation’s agriculture policies. Today’s vote was another important step toward getting critical reforms in our nutrition programs so the safety net is there for the families and children who truly need it. Now that the House has passed both a farm title and nutrition title, Congress will be able to go to conference on a farm bill that our farmers and ranchers desperately need in order to feed the nation and plan for the future.
“I believe the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides necessary and vital services for our most vulnerable Americans. Congress has a responsibility to support and empower individuals and families in their time of need, and this bill will protect the ability of programs like SNAP to provide benefits to those who need them. This bill is not about politics, it is about helping and encouraging folks to get back on their feet. This is why I support requiring healthy, capable adults, who are not caring for another individual, to work, train, volunteer, or attend class in exchange for federal taxpayer assistance. While this provision also saves the program money, for me, it is about good policy, not a specific dollar amount.”
American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy (Canton, Mississippi)
“Now that the House has moved through its farm and food bills, it is time to get to work passing a single piece of comprehensive legislation that provides farmers the certainty they need to continue producing and making the long term investments needed for a steady and reliable source of safe and affordable food, fiber and fuel on which our friends and neighbors in communities across the country depend. This process has gone on for more than three years now, and we still have no long-term legislation in place. That is entirely too long. The current farm bill, which already been extended once by Congress, expires on September 30 and with it authority and funding for key market development, conservation, agricultural research, and price support programs. These are the real consequences of Congressional inaction, and we expect the House to appoint its conferees as soon as possible, and we call on both chambers to work across party lines to craft a bill that addresses the needs of both farmers and consumers.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Scott George (Cody, Wyoming)
“We are pleased that the House is one step closer towards passage of the farm
bill and we encourage the House to appoint conferees to work out the differences
between the House and Senate bills.” said Scott George, NCBA president and Cody
Wyo., cattle and dairy producer. “Passage of the farm bill is the top priority
as set by our membership and we will continue to work with Congress to pass a
farm bill that meets the needs of cattle producers and guarantees certainty for
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow
“We have never before seen this kind of partisanship injected into a Farm Bill. Not only does this House bill represent a shameful attempt to kick millions of families in need off of food assistance, it’s also a monumental waste of time. The bill will never pass the Senate, and will never be signed by the President.
“The good news is now that this vote is behind us, we are close to the finish line. If House Republican leaders drop the divisive issues, appoint conferees and work with us in a bipartisan way, we can finalize a farm bill that creates jobs, reforms agriculture policy, and reduces the deficit by tens of billions of dollars. It’s time to get a comprehensive farm bill done to give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to continue growing the economy.”
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas
“I remain committed to getting a five-year farm bill on the books this year. Today’s vote was another step toward that goal. The House passed a bill that makes common-sense reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that encourages and enables work participation, closes program loopholes, and eliminates waste, fraud and abuse while saving the American taxpayer nearly $40 billion. SNAP serves an important purpose to help Americans who are struggling, so it is equally important that we ensure the program is working in the most effective and efficient way. I look forward to continuing conversations with my House and Senate colleagues as we move toward a farm bill conference,”
USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
“Today’s vote was a highly partisan step that does nothing to promote a bipartisan, comprehensive Farm Bill and stands no chance of becoming law. The harmful plan championed today by House leadership would deny critical nutrition assistance for millions of Americans, including working families with children, senior citizens, veterans, and adults who are still looking for work. The Senate has passed a bipartisan Farm Bill two years running. Now it’s time for House leadership to do their part by appointing conferees as soon as possible and completing the comprehensive bill that farmers, ranchers and rural Americans deserve.”