Pricey Farm Bill Mired in Food Stamp Debate

Defending Agriculture

Conservatives torch bill for reckless spending

Published on: February 3, 2014

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Farm Bill. Conservatives in Washington are outraged at the profligate spending. The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, said, "You Won't Believe What's in the $1 Trillion Farm Bill Disaster."

Heritage says the Farm Bill is filled with central planning policies, handouts to special interests and wasteful spending and claims the taxpayers, the poor and consumers are the losers. Heritage states the Farm Bill is really a food stamp bill because 80% is devoted to food stamps, or SNAP -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is quoted as saying that food stamps are necessary to get the farm bill passed.

Heritage alleges House Republicans caved on food stamp spending and pointed out that such spending has quadrupled since 2000. Heritage argues that a recipient can enroll in the food stamp program "…even if they have $1 million in the bank."

Apparently Congress could have closed this loophole and saved $12 billion over a decade, but did not do so. Apparently food stamp recipients can have unlimited amounts of assets, but if their income is low enough they still receive food stamps, according to Heritage.

Others say this is wrong. They say a person may not have more than $2,000 to $,3500 in assets to qualify for food stamps.

Another fault

Heritage's says that Congress failed to implement a work requirement in order to promote self sufficiency for able bodied adults. Apparently the language "merely suggests" such a requirement, but did not include such.

Even though Heritage Foundation has supported many conservative ideas in the past, it was reported during 2013 that Heritage had been kicked out of Republican Study Committee Farm Bill meetings. The Republicans in the House did not believe they could pass a stand-alone Farm Bill without the food stamp program being an integral part and Heritage opposed this position.