WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013 – The House Rules Committee will continue its discussion Tuesday on setting a rule for floor debate on the five-year farm bill (H.R. 1947), after sifting through at least 227 filed amendments.
During an opening discussion of the bill Monday night, Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, told lawmakers that staff is working to try to consolidate many duplicative amendments and get the list down to a more manageable amount.
“We’re trying to let everybody get their shot,” Sessions said.
Many amendments appear to be repetitive. For instance, some 40 amendments have been filed with changes to the nutrition title and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which faces a $20.5 billion reduction under the bill.
The proposed cuts have caused much consternation among Democrats who call the cuts draconian as well as conservative lawmakers who want deeper cuts.
Indeed, the Obama administration issued a veto threat Monday night against the legislation largely due to the SNAP cuts.
It is unclear whether Sessions will move for a closed rule, which could allow only a handful of amendments, or an open rule, which could allow for consideration of a large number of amendments.
Rep. James McGovern, R-Mass., who is a large SNAP supporter, said he plans to offer an amendment that would provide offsets to cover the proposed reductions, but did not detail the offsets.
If the cuts remain, McGovern said he will vote against the underlying bill.
“The SNAP reductions are going to hurt a lot of people,” McGovern said. “Two million people will get cut off.”
While there was not much substantive debate in the committee meeting, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., assured afterwards that the House will complete its work on the bill by June 20.
“Yes, yes, we’ll be done,” Peterson said.
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