A congressional hearing on SNAP “program integrity” provided a snapshot of the debate over the most controversial aspect of the proposed House farm bill – that in order to receive benefits, all able-bodied adults between 18 and 59 years of age work or be in an approved training program for at least 20 hours per week.
President Trump will meet with the chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture committees on Thursday and is expected to insist that the final farm bill include tighter work requirements on food stamp recipients, according to a source familiar with the meeting plans.
The stage is set for a bitter debate over a new farm bill as soon as next week in the House, but the deep partisan divisions could work in favor of farm groups as they try to stave off cuts to commodity programs or crop insurance.
As House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway prepares to bring his farm bill to the House floor, he has more to worry about than just whether he’s got enough GOP votes to pass it over united Democratic opposition.
Conservative organizations may like the way the House Republican farm bill would overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but they also are preparing to push the full House to end the sugar program and reform crop insurance.
Republicans expect to advance a farm bill in the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday despite Democratic anger over its reforms to food stamps, but the legislation also would make significant changes in policy and funding across many other sections, including conservation, rural development and horticulture.
House Republicans prepare to force their new farm bill through the Agriculture Committee this week in what is likely to be a bitter but potentially brief debate, setting up a likely showdown on the House floor in May.
House Republicans are relying on elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program and tightened eligibility rules and work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to fund other priorities in the new farm bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office.