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House Passes Farm Bill, Removes Food Stamp Program

Speaker John Boehner and, from left, Reps. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Todd Platts (R-PA).
Speaker John Boehner and, from left, Reps. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Todd Platts (R-PA). | Photo by SpeakerBoehner

A stripped-down farm bill was passed through Congress last night by a narrow 216-to-208 vote. It removed any food stamp protections, decreasing the per-year cost of the bill from $100 billion to about $20 billion.

The bill also repealed laws originally written in the 1930s and '40s that provided incentives to continually update the farm bill. But the bulk of the shouting on the floor yesterday was over the future of food stamps, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "You are taking food out of the mouths of your own poor constituents."

The congressional bill will now have to be merged with the version recently passed by the Senate. (Yes, this is a bewilderingly drawn-out process.)

As the New York Times reported:

Perhaps using a food analogy wasn't the most sensitive move on Boehner's part.

Read Rick Paulas' explanation of all the myriad issues in this year's Farm Bill here.