Vilsack: House's SNAP cuts "unacceptable"

Published online: Jun 19, 2013
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the $20 billion cut in the SNAP, or food stamp program, that is part of the House farm bill, is "unacceptable."

Speaking Monday at a farm bill town hall meeting in Lubbock, Texas, Vilsack said that such a cut would ultimately hurt farmers. Vilsack says by kicking millions of needy people out of SNAP, there would be less money spent on food in grocery stores.

"If you trace that dollar that is spent in that grocery store, and you sort of trace it through the supply chain-and you ask yourself how much of that ultimately, if you will, finds its way into a farmer's pocket-it's about 15 cents," said Vilsack.

"So if you cut the SNAP program by $20 billion over 10 years, you're also reducing farm income by $3 billion over that same time frame."

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley waves off the administration's threat to veto the farm bill over SNAP cuts. Grassley says the final cut will be somewhere between the $4 billion reduction in the Senate bill and the $20 billion being proposed in the House bill.

"It's pretty simple-when you have dollar differences, generally the two houses split the difference," Grassley says. "Between $4 billion and $20 billion, there's room to compromise to where I'll bet the president will sign a bill."