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House Farm Bill Fails By Slim Margin

The House of Representatives voted Thursday on the Farm Bill and, by a 195-234 vote, the bill failed to pass. Debate over the bill’s 200-plus amendments began June 18.

The five-year Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act sought to reform the nation’s dairy, nutrition assistance, crop insurance, sugar and conservation programs. The most hotly debated topic of the Farm Bill was the $21 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP), in addition to several changes proposed to the program.

The cuts would have decreased benefits by about $90 per month for 850,000 households, and about two million households would have lost benefits entirely, according to Feeding America, a national nonprofit hunger relief charity.

In addition, the bill would have stopped use of taxpayer dollars to advertise for SNAP and eliminated categorical eligibility, which skirts the asset and income tests in SNAP law. It also would have eliminated bonuses for states that enroll and administer SNAP benefits.

In addition to SNAP cuts, the bill likely failed due in part to disagreement about how programs would change, such as the Goodlatte-Scott amendment, which would have repealed the Dairy Security Act.

During the debate on the Goodlatte-Scott amendment, representatives debated whether or not the measure would help small farmers, raise milk prices or place additional burdens on small farmers. The Goodlatte-Scott amendment was defeated and would not have been included in the Farm Bill.



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