The Senate has rejected an effort to increase the cut in food stamps in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 from $4 billion to $31 billion. The vote was 40 to 58. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts offered the amendment that would have ended the use of energy assistance as a basis for food stamp eligibility and eliminated categorical eligibility, a training program and grants to the states for good performance in managing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Roberts says the amendment would have helped rein in the largest expenditure in the USDA budget. Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow strongly opposed the amendment. The Senate then moved to an amendment on the opposite end of the spectrum as New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand tried to eliminate the SNAP cut in the bill altogether by cutting crop insurance. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 26 to 70.
On the Senate floor Tuesday evening, Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow thanked Senators for their help in bringing amendments to the farm bill to a vote and said she hopes to finish the bill by the end of the week.