The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

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House farm bill nutrition, credit titles closed

In a key vote, the House Agriculture Committee has rejected by a vote of 13 to 33 an amendment offered by Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., to cut $33 billion from the food stamp program, the full amount that the committee would have cut if it had followed reconciliation instructions.

The committee rejected other amendments to increase the food stamp cut above the $16.5 billion in the base bill, but did approve a transfer of $5 million to advertise the availability of the food stamp program to commodity purchases for food banks.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., repeatedly appealed to members not to increase the food stamp cut in order to maintain the coalition to pass the bill.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., also offered and withdrew an amendment that would eliminate a provision in the House bill that would allow the fresh fruit and vegetable snack program in the schools to serve canned and frozen fruit and vegetables as well as fresh. Cardoza said the amendment would “undermine the integrity of the fresh fruit and vegetable program.”

The frozen and canned industries say that their products are just as nutritious, but fresh fruit and vegetable industry officials say they hope the current standard will be maintained, because the Senate farm bill does not contain the provision.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said within the past hour that the committee still has 61 amendments to consider on the 2012 farm bill and that 22 may require recorded votes. Peterson said he is determined to finish the markup today.

“We are going to get done tonight come hell or high water,” he said.

Members have since begun to talk faster as they propose amendments and to speed up voice votes.

The committee has closed the credit title, and has now moved on to the rural development title.