GOP to Split Food Stamps From Farm Bill?

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In a move that’s sure to set off fierce debate between the left and the right, House Republican leaders plan to separate food stamps funding from the farm bill and are “whipping the farm-only portion of the bill for a vote that will likely come this week,” CQ Roll Call reports, citing a GOP leadership aide.

The aide said the nutrition portion of the bill will be dealt with at a later date.

“The Rules Committee is expected to post the text Tuesday night and meet Wednesday,” the report notes.

GOP leadership has not yet scheduled a vote on the issue, according to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) spokesman Rory Cooper.

“There has been no decision made to schedule a vote on a farm bill, in any form,” he said in a statement to CQ Roll Call.

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla.) said he’d support splitting the bill, but only if it has a shot of passing the House.

“I’m willing to do what it takes to get a farm bill done,” Lucas said. “If that means doing it unconventionally, maybe we got to give it a try.”

He later added of his possible support for splitting the farm bill: “It’s fair to say that Chairman Lucas is at a point where he has got to look outside the box, and splitting the farm bill is certainly outside the traditional box.”

And although splitting the farm bill to deal with food stamps separately seems like a novel idea, it’s uncertain whether the House GOP has the votes to pass it.

“They’re going to whip it and find out,” said House Armed Services Chairman Howard McKeon (R-Calif).

“There is something to be said for voting on one issue at a time,” Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) added.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a closed-door meeting Monday criticized Republicans for the farm bill’s 195-234 defeat in June, National Review Online reports.

CQ Roll Call adds:

Cantor has privately been pushing to separate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps, from the farm provisions. According to the Congressional Budget Office, SNAP accounts for $743.9 billion of the estimated $972.3 billion cost of the House bill over the next 10 years.

Click here to read the full CQ Roll Call report.

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