White House threatens veto as House works on farm bill

June 18, 2013 at 11:05 AM

WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- The White House has threatened to veto a farm bill under consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Administration officials signaled the fastest way to achieve some compromise this summer would be by taking savings from crop insurance to offset Republican-backed cuts from food stamp programs, Politico said.

The most severe of the food-stamp savings would come from reinstating tighter income limits and an outmoded asset test that could result in more than 2 million beneficiaries being shed, saving an estimated $11.5 billion over the next 10 years, Politico said.

The administration said its crop insurance reforms could save $11.7 billion.

The White House statement came as Democrats were to caucus Tuesday to discuss the farm bill. Politico said House Agriculture Committee leadership is hoping to win what is expected to be a close floor vote, but must rely on getting about 50 Democratic votes because of defections from the GOP's conservative wing.

"The administration supports enactment of a multiyear farm bill that includes a long-term extension of disaster programs and promotes rural development, preserves a farm safety net, maintains strong nutrition programs," the administration statement said. "The administration looks forward to working with the Congress to achieve crop insurance and commodity program savings ... while at the same time strengthening the farm safety net in times of need and supporting the next generation of farmers."

The House Rules Committee was to set the terms of debate Tuesday, as well as begin whittling down the list of more the 220 amendments offered to the bill.

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