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Food stamps separated from farm bill

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 12, 2013 at 4:39 PM
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The Republican-led House narrowly passed its version of the Farm Bill Thursday, 216 to 208, regaining some support from the conservative wing of the party by stripping funding for the food stamp program.

Just 12 Republicans voted against the food stamp-free version of the bill, compared to a broader version last month that was defeated when conservatives said it cost too much and Democrats said it didn't go far enough.

No Democrat voted for the bill, and the White House threatened to veto it.

Following the passage of the bill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said representatives would "act with dispatch" to pass a separate bill dealing with the food stamp program.

"The work will continue now, and we hope Senate Democrats will not obstruct reform because the status quo isn't working," Cantor said.

Democrats were horrified at the decision of the majority leadership to bring and pass the food stamp-free bill, a surprise that prompted shock and anger.

"It appears to have no nutrition title at all, is this a printing error?” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., asked mockingly from the floor.

"This is wrong," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "Taking food out of the mouth of babies -- I don't think so."

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps, gives financial assistance to 47 million Americans, costing some $75 billion per year.

Food and nutrition programs, including SNAP, typically make up about 80 percent of the annual farm bill budget, which was last renewed in 2008. The current farm bill expires on September 30.

The original $940 bill, defeated last month when 62 Republicans abandoned the majority over SNAP's cost, cut $20.5 billion from nutrition programs.

In the Senate, the counterpart legislation already passed passed, cuts a kinder $4 billion over 10 years from SNAP.

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