AGRIBUSINESS: Congress Sends Letters To Farm Bill Conferees

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Twenty-seven House members signed a letter urging House and Senate farm bill conferees to keep farm policy and nutrition policy separate in the future.

The House farm bill put farm programs on a five-year reauthorization track with nutrition programs on a three-year track. The Senate bill would reauthorize both programs for five years, and their approach is supported by farm, conservation and nutrition groups.

Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman signed the letter, he says Washington is 17-trillion dollars in debt and taxpayers deserve an honest consversation about how Congress spends their money.

Stutzman says Congress should consider food stamps and farm policy separately.

In the meantime 39 Senators sent a letter to farm bill conferees urging them to fight against harmful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The letter also asks them to reject all eligibility changes that would make it harder for low-income children to get free school meals, but did not rule out all cuts to nutrition programs.

According to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, the Senate’s four-billion dollars in cuts over 10 years are limited to integrity issues.  Democrats in the House and anti-hunger advocates protest the expiration of the increased food stamp benefit included in the Recovery Act.

Michigan Representative John Conyers introduced a bill to extend the increase through 2016.