WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives sent its version of the Farm Bill to the Senate this week to begin the conference process, even though the House bill omits the nutrition programs historically included in the agriculture package.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., sent a memo to colleagues on Tuesday announcing the action, saying he expects informal discussions with the Senate on agriculture program reforms to begin immediately.
Lucas went on to say that he would start to meet with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and others about creating a separate bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps. He noted that SNAP benefits will continue “at current levels and within existing rules” even if a new Farm Bill is not passed.
“Separating nutrition programs from the rest of the Farm Bill does not end SNAP, nor does it preclude SNAP reform from being included in a final conference report,” said Lucas.
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The House passed its farm-only Farm Bill earlier this month after failing to pass a version of the legislation that contained SNAP funding in June.
The White House and members of the Senate have said they will not consider a Farm Bill without SNAP.
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