Supplemental Nutrition Food Assistance Update

Jul 11, 2013

On June 20, in a surprise to most observers, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a sweeping Farm Bill that was widely expected to pass.  The Farm Bill is the government’s most comprehensive tool for regulating agriculture nationwide, and has always included SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  SNAP is commonly referred to as food stamps.  Even though the bill would have stripped $2 billion per year from SNAP, 62 Republicans voted against the bill with many claiming the cuts weren’t deep enough.

Now, the House Republican caucus has chosen to separate SNAP from the rest of the Farm Bill.  Should such a bill pass, it is unlikely that the Senate would even consider a bill that lacked a SNAP component.  Then, there would be little chance of a coherent Farm Bill being sent to the White House for the President’s signature.  This leaves two major questions: (1) Will there even be a Farm Bill signed into law to allow the nation’s agricultural interests to function in their accustomed manner?  (2) Would the House eventually pass a SNAP bill at a later date?

NASW continues to monitor these and other related developments.

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