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House Republicans pass divided Farm Bill without food stamps

On July 11, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, by a vote of 216-208.

This bill is a modified version of what the House rejected last month. The difference is that it includes only the agriculture provisions, and excludes food stamps (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), which could be included in a separate bill. The version with SNAP had Democratic support but not enough Republicans on board; the version without SNAP had Republican support but all Democrats voted no.

Breaking the bill in two represents an historic split in a political coalition that had been in place since the early 1970s. The Farm Bill has traditionally passed by uniting members who represent rural farmers and urban poor who receive funding for nutritional support. This bill now has to be reconciled with the one passed by the Senate last year, which does include food stamps. This seems unlikely.

“SNAP and farm policies are likely to fail,” said Jeff Stone, OAN executive director. Even if H.R. 2642 makes it out of Congress, the president has already said he won’t sign it in its current form (see the Obama administration’s statement of policy on H.R. 2642).

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