After the failure of the Republican-dominated House to pass a new Farm Bill—omnibus legislation that includes subsidy support for farmers as well as the federal food stamp program—party leaders are considering splitting the parts into two bills. If that happens, the Republicans might end up doing their constituents more harm than good.
For nearly two years, Congress has been extending the existing Farm Bill, which expired in late 2012, in hopes of revamping legislation that has grown swollen and creaky over the course of decades of tweaking. This year, as it was last year, a key point of political contention has been the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—food stamps. Republican lawmakers have called for substantial cuts to the program, which, as of April, provided assistance to 47 million Americans. (As the Wall Street Journal notes, this is nearly one-sixth of everyone in the country.)
Roll Call had the first report on the new proposal, which would allow passage of the Republican-supported farm subsidies and postpone discussion of the Republican-opposed food stamps.
House Republican leaders have decided to drop food stamps from the farm bill and are whipping the farm-only portion of the bill for a vote that will likely come this week, according to a GOP leadership aide.
The nutrition portion of the bill would be dealt with later.
("Whipping" is a term referring to the process of counting and securing votes for a bill.)