House Dems to Boehner: Restore food-stamp funding in farm bill

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House Democrats called on Speaker John A. Boehner to restore food-stamp funding to any future iteration of the farm bill, a direct response to the GOP’s decision this year to strip the nutrition program from the legislation despite its longstanding use as bait for urban liberals to support rural farm subsidies.

Congress is attempting to pass a completed farm bill for the coming fiscal year before programs expire on Sept. 30.

Although a version passed the Senate in May, the legislation has a tortured history in the Republican-led House.

An initial bill failed to gain enough votes in June, but the GOP majority pushed through a version last month that divorced farming programs from food stamps — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — on the promise they would take up SNAP benefits at a later date.

“We voted against this bill in large part because of this intentional omission,” more than 200 Democrats wrote in a letter to Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “We strongly believe in the critical importance of SNAP.”

Democrats are angry over reports that House Republicans intend to slash the food-stamp program by up to $40 billion when it takes up the issue as a stand-alone measure.

Nearly 50 million American rely on the program, and about half of the enrollees are children, Democrats said.

“This wrong-headed approach will take food from the mouths of children and undermine the well-being of millions of families,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said.

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