• Senate passes its version of farm bill, setting up clash over food stam

    From Deplorable Redneck@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jun 29 12:48:40 2018
    XPost: sac.politics, alt.society.liberalism, alt.politics.democrats
    XPost: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

    WASHINGTON The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that makes
    modest modifications to existing farm programs while largely
    avoiding changes to food stamps, setting up a showdown with the
    House.

    The bill passed 86-11.

    The legislation renews farm programs such as crop insurance and
    land conservation. Farm programs are set to expire Sept. 30
    unless Congress acts.

    Work on the legislation comes at a time when farmers are facing
    low prices and a potential trade war that could depress
    commodities prices further.

    "We are one step closer to providing farmers and ranchers a Farm
    Bill with the certainty and predictability they deserve," said
    Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan. "I am proud
    we have a strong, budget-neutral farm bill with broad support."

    GOP aides said the farm bill is expected to go to conference,
    where Senate and House leadership will try to reconcile their
    differences. On the food stamp front, the two sides are likely
    to clash.

    The House bill tightens work requirements for recipients of the
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Currently, able-
    bodied adults ages 18-49 without children are required to work
    20 hours a week to maintain their benefits. The bill raises the
    top age of recipients subject to work requirements from 49 to 59
    and requires parents with children older than 6 to work or
    participate in job training.

    Government auditors estimate that in 10 years, the SNAP caseload
    would shrink by about 1.2 million people in an average month if
    the bill becomes law.

    Those changes are consistent with the Trump administration's
    priorities. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed an
    executive order directing federal agencies to enforce existing
    work requirements and review all programs, waivers and
    exemptions.

    The House measure also limits circumstances under which families
    who qualify for other poverty programs can automatically be
    eligible for SNAP. It earmarks $1 billion to expand work
    training programs.

    The Senate version aims to reduce fraud in SNAP but doesn't cut
    funding from the program, which helps feed more than 40 million
    people across the United States.

    "We improve the SNAP program by providing integrity," Roberts
    said prior to the vote. "By cutting bonuses, modernizing the
    verification process, we increase accountability in employment
    and training programs, we put SNAP participants on the path to
    employment."

    After the bill's passage, House Agriculture Committee Chairman
    Mike Conaway, R-Texas, congratulated his counterparts in the
    Senate on a "hard-won victory" and said he looks forward to
    "working together to send a strong new farm bill to the
    president's desk."

    Passage of the measure was delayed by a battle over an amendment
    from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., barring U.S. taxpayer funds from
    being spent on businesses owned by the Cuban military. The
    Senate adopted Rubio's amendment Thursday.

    "American taxpayer dollars should never go into the pocket of
    the Cuban regime," Rubio said.

    The Senate bill also includes a provision from Majority Leader
    Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that would legalize the production of
    industrial hemp. The commodity is generally barred because it is
    related to marijuana, even though it contains little of that
    drug's key psychoactive ingredient, THC. McConnell secured a
    hemp pilot program in the most recent farm bill in 2014. He
    views the crop as a good replacement for tobacco, which is grown
    in his home state.

    "Our farm families and those across rural America face a lot of
    uncertainty: natural disasters, from droughts to floods,
    unstable world markets and falling commodity prices," McConnell
    said. "The farmers that feed and support this country are
    counting on us to provide the predictability and certainty of a
    long-term farm bill."

    The Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,
    that would have eliminated waivers states are permitted to issue
    and required state agencies to operate work activation programs.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/28/senate-passes-its- version-farm-bill-setting-up-clash-over-food-stamps.html

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