The full Senate begins deliberation on the Farm Bill next week.
During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow said she’s anticipating a lot of emotional arguments on the nutrition title.
But, the Chairwoman says she looks at the nutrition title like she does any other part of the farm bill. “This is about providing help when it’s needed,” she says. “Crop insurance is available for farmers when they have a disaster. The cost goes up when there is a disaster and goes down during good years. The same thing should be true for SNAP (the nutrition program).”
Late Wednesday evening the House passed their version of the Farm Bill which contains much larger cuts to the nutrition title.
Looking ahead to a potential conference of the two bills, Stabenow says there are some major differences between the House and Senate versions – especially when it comes to the nutrition title. “I absolutely reject the level of cuts and the way this is done in the House,” she says. “They eliminate something called categorical eligibility, which we’ve now voted down two or three times on the Senate floor on a bipartisan basis.”
The Senate is scheduled to take up the Farm Bill on Monday.