White House would veto House farm bill over SNAP cuts

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — As the House of Representatives prepares to debate the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947), the House farm bill, the office of President Barack Obama fired a shot across the bow vowing a presidential veto of the legislation should it reach his desk in its current form. While the White House’s veto threat issued June 17 cited a number of objections to the House farm bill, first and foremost among these were its cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The House farm bill would cut spending on SNAP by $21 billion over 10 years. The spending reduction would remove nearly 2 million Americans from the program, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

In contrast, the Senate on June 10 passed its farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, which would cut spending on SNAP by $4 billion over 10 years.

In its “statement of administration policy” that contained the veto threat, the Office of the White House said, “The administration strongly opposes the harmful cuts to SNAP, a cornerstone of our nation’s food assistance safety net. The bill makes unacceptable deep cuts in SNAP, which could increase hunger among millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including families with children and senior citizens. The administration believes that Congress should achieve significant budgetary savings to help reduce the deficit without creating hardship for vulnerable families — for example, by reducing crop insurance subsidies.”

The statement concluded, “If the president were presented with H.R. 1947, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.”

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