Peterson: Food stamp deal in place, farm bill framework could come this week

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers negotiating the terms of a new five-year farm bill have agreed to the size of the bill’s cut to the food stamps program, one of the major sticking points between the House and Senate, Rep. Collin Peterson said Monday.

Peterson told the Fargo Forum a farm bill deal could come before the end of the week, although the legislative calendar is such that any vote on the package would likely happen in January. That’s been the assumed timeline recently, given that the House leaves for a winter recess on Friday.

Peterson didn’t identify how big the food stamp cut would be, according to the Forum, except that it’s “substantially closer to the Senate’s” $4 billion in 10-year cuts than the House’s $40 billion figure.

More from the Forum:

Peterson guessed that change will still be one of the major issues when the bill goes to House and Senate floors for a vote, which he said could be as early as the second week of January. The deal would have to be passed by the farm bill’s conference committee before heading for a full vote.

“I think it will pass the Senate, but I cannot guarantee you it will pass the House,” Peterson said in a meeting with the Forum’s Editorial Board Monday. “They are not going to be happy with the food stamp cuts.”

Peterson said he’s confident he can secure “yes” votes from at least half of the House Democrats — important if many Republicans, who control the House, balk at the smaller-than-expected food cuts to food stamps.

Food stamp policy has been one of the most contentious parts of the farm bill debate this year, especially in the House. Over the summer, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats both voted against an original House Agriculture Committee farm bill because of its $20 billion in cuts. House leadership had to double the number to persuade enough Republicans to support the bill and send it to a conference committee with the Senate (Most Democrats had opposed the $20 billion figure as too deep to begin with, and they all voted against the latter bill).

As of last week, conference negotiators — Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Ok.) and Peterson, a Democrat — had been closing in on a food stamp agreement, though they’re still waiting on budget scoring from the Congressional Budget Office.

[h/t @kpottermn]

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Pete Barrett on 12/09/2013 - 07:52 pm.

    Food Insecurity

    Is running rampant in this country. Job growth is anemic. We’ve had a wage freeze for years now. And BOTH parties are talking about how much to cut from SNAP?

    Tell me again about those darn liberal Democrats and their free spending ways.

    Can we cut even one of our 15 aircraft carrier groups? That savings would dwarf the savings in the SNAP cuts.

    • Submitted by Mike Lafky on 12/10/2013 - 07:50 am.

      Not to mention …

      … what finally crying ‘Uncle’ on the F-35 could do.

    • Submitted by Jim Buscher on 12/10/2013 - 10:34 am.

      Not to nitpick, but the US has 11 supercarriers not 15. And one is always in long term overhaul. And the navy is considering decommissioning one or two due to budget cuts and sequestor.

  2. Submitted by Jerilyn Jackson on 12/11/2013 - 08:18 pm.

    Just wrong

    Cutting foods stamps even one penny is disgraceful with so many families struggling right now.

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