Somewhat contentious debate also surfaced over SNAP cuts, as expected. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., voiced concern regarding the $4 billion in SNAP savings, noting that many veterans and seniors rely on the program for nutritional assistance.
"The real need in our communities is very high for basic food and nutrition," Gillibrand said. "When we make our judgments about how to cut spending, tightening our belts around the waists of our children is not a shared American value."
The amendment from Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to restore the SNAP cuts, was withdrawn and will likely be revisited on the floor.
North Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune's amendment to reorganize SNAP education funds with a savings of $2 billion was voted down, as was an amendment from Sen. Johanns, R-Neb., to restrict categorical eligibility in the SNAP program.
Thune offered an additional amendment to shutter SNAP benefits for what he called "ABAWDs" – able- bodied adults without dependents – unless they are living in areas with insufficient jobs or high unemployment rates. His amendment was voted down.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., withdrew an amendment for "comprehensive food stamp reform" that would save $31 billion by eliminating the LIHEAP loophole and the SNAP employment & training and education programs. Aspects of the plan are similar to "clean-up" legislation Roberts introduced earlier this year.
Conservation amendments were also on the table Tuesday, as Senators discussed connecting crop insurance to conservation compliance. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., opposed the connection, noting it adds "regulatory burden and cost."