Thursday, June 20, 2013
Drug testing food stamp applicants?
The House bill would have cut projected spending in farm and nutrition programs by nearly $40 billion over the next 10 years. Just over half, $20.5 billion, would come from cuts to the food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The House bill, like the Senate’s, would have eliminated the $5 billion-a-year subsidies paid to farmers and landowners whether they plant crops or not. The billions of dollars saved would be directed into the $9 billion crop insurance program, and new subsidies would be created for peanut, cotton and rice farmers. The bill adds money to support fruit and vegetable growers, and it restores insurance programs for livestock producers, which expired in 2011, leaving thousands of operations without disaster coverage during last year’s drought.
Not surprisingly, the nearly $75-billion food stamp program was the focus of most of the farm bill debate. Democrats, led by Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, said that the cuts to the program were too steep and introduced an amendment that would scale them back by cutting funds for crop insurance. Lawmakers rejected the amendment, 234 to 188.
The lawmakers did pass two amendments, one to allow states to drug test food stamp applicants, and the other to require food stamp recipients to meet federal welfare work requirements.