The Senate bill, passed Tuesday, would cut $4.1 billion from SNAP over the course of ten years. The House version, passed Wednesday, cuts $20.5 billion. The full Senate is set to debate the legislation Monday; the House will debate their version in June.
The farm bill is overdue for reform, and efforts to pass it last year failed in the House. As of now, the farm bill in place is the version from 2008, extended until September 30. If the legislation ultimately makes it out of Congress, it will lay out a spending plan for farming subsidies and nutritional programs for the next five years. House Agricultural Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas, a Republican from Oklahoma, praised the bill's initial passage as proof of "common ground," but the bill's bipartisan coalition of support stems in great part from Representatives Lucas and Colin C. Peterson's (MI-DFL) decision to increase the SNAP program budget cuts from an initial $16 billion in hopes of attracting more Republican support. Those who voted against the proposed bill were mostly Democrats.
Representative Jim Costa (D-CA), voted for the bill. "There is too much good in this bill to let it die," he said. He also warned, however, that "we still have more work to do to ensure the 2013 farm bill works for all Americans, including revisiting cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program."
SNAP has experienced growth over the last decade, due in great part to the economic recession. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that two million people could be eliminated if the program is cut at these rates, with most of the disadvantaged being seniors or children. Poor families, which are often headed by single mothers, would be hit the hardest. American women are more likely to live in poverty than men across the United States.
Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) and other Democrats on the House Committee offered an amendment to restore the proposed cuts to the program. It was defeated along party lines in a vote of 27 to 17 after heated debate about the food stamp program cuts, with multiple legislators using religious beliefs to sustain their respective political viewpoints.
"Christians, Muslims, Jews, whatever - we are failing our brothers and sisters," McGovern said.
Media Resources: Marketplace 5/17/13; The Bakersfield Californian 5/16/13; The New York Times 5/16/13; Roll Call 5/17/13; Ms. Magazine 8/5/10
12/12/2013 Feminist Majority Celebrates Introduction of Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) - WASHINGTON -- Feminist Majority today celebrates and applauds Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for introducing the critically-needed paid family medical leave legislation.
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) will allow workers to take paid time off to address a serious illness of their own, a spouse, parent or child or to care for a new baby or adopted child. . . .
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .