Senate farm bill hits floor

Published online: May 20, 2013
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The Senate farm bill was introduced on the Senate floor Monday and Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow touched on each part of the bill, including what is likely to become the most controversial topic-food stamp cuts-when the Senate and House bills come together.

Stabenow says the Senate farm bill continues to build on the integrity that's already there by cracking down on food stamp/nutrition program abuses and misuse.

"And we made sure our changes would not remove one single needy family. It's not about hurting folks, about making sure that there is not abuse-and that's what we address."

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown says the downturn in the economy is the biggest reason people have relied on food stamps and that has hit the lowest income people the hardest.

Brown says, "This is evidence that SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) (also known as Food Stamps) is working. As our economy continues to recover, SNAP enrollment will decrease."

The Senate version cuts $4 billion in food assistance. Brown says that's $4 billion too much. But he credited Stabenow for making those cuts, in his words, "as painless as possible."

The House farm bill-to be taken up in June-makes upwards of $20 billion in nutrition program cuts that supporters say are appropriate and necessary.