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House Ag rejects elimination of food stamp cut

The House Agriculture Committee has rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., to eliminate the food stamp cut in the House farm bill draft. The House bill would cut $16.5 billion over 10 years from the program.

The roll call vote was 15 to 31.

All Republicans voted against the amendment. They were joined in opposition by the following Democrats: House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Reps. Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Kurt Schrader of Oregon and William Owens of New York.

The committee also rejected by a vote of 28 to 15 an amendment offered by Schrader to cut food stamps by $4.5 billion — the same as the Senate cut — rather than the $16.5 billion in the House bill.

The committee also:
  • Passed an amendment that would not allow the cost of medical marijuana to be used to reduce a food stamp beneficiary’s income for food stamp qualification and benefit purposes. The amendment was sponsored by Reps. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, and Renee Elmers, R-N.C. The marijuana amendment passed on a voice vote, but there several members could be heard voting against it.
  • Passed by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., that would require state agencies to verify income and eligibility or an immigration status verification system such as systematic alien verification for entitlement programs.
  • Passed by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, to allow food stamp participants to use their benefits through community-supported agriculture programs.

The committee has taken a break for votes until 4:30 p.m., when it will return to the nutrition title.