White House threatens to veto farm bill if food stamps are cut

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The White House threatened to veto the House farm bill Monday night, in part due to cuts to the food-stamp program.

“The bill would reduce access to food assistance for struggling families and their children, does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms, and does not provide funding for renewable energy, which is an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country,” the White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy.

The House farm bill would cut about $2 billion annually from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or about 3 percent of the SNAP budget. The cost of SNAP has doubled since 2008 and quadrupled since 2001, reaching a cost of about $80 billion last year.

According to the administration, the “harmful” cuts to SNAP “could increase hunger among millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including families with children and senior citizens.”

Instead of cuts to SNAP, the White House called for reductions to farm subsidies.

“The administration believes that Congress should achieve significant budgetary savings to help reduce the deficit without creating hardship for vulnerable families — for example, by reducing crop insurance subsidies,” the statement reads. “Rather than reducing crop insurance subsidies by $11.7 billion over 10 years, as proposed in the president’s budget, H.R. 1947 would increase reference prices for farmers by roughly 45 percent and increase already generous crop insurance subsidies at a cost of nearly $9 billion over 10 years to the nation’s taxpayers.”

“If the president were presented with H.R. 1947, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the statement continued.

Last Monday, the Senate passed their version of the farm bill, which featured $400 million annual cuts to the program — or about half a percent.

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