The farm bill currently being considered by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would be great for a handful of wealthy farm owners, and bad for millions of people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
CNN reports that the bill contains new work requirements for people who receive food stamps through SNAP; these proposed requirements could threaten the benefits of as many as two million recipients—nearly 5 percent of the 45.4 million Americans who rely on SNAP benefits—according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
Proponents of the bill, like Rep. Mike Conway of Texas and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, argue that the proposed work requirements will help SNAP recipients “break the cycle of poverty,” which is a familiar, empty talking point among politicians seeking to punish people living in poverty. Stacy Dean, vice president for Food Assistance Policy at CBPP, disagrees, with an opinion actually rooted in available data and human compassion. Incredible! “There is no research evidence that people will be better off under these types of changes,” she told CBS News in May.
Meanwhile, a provision tucked away inside the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 would make it easier for super wealthy farm owners to receive federal farm subsidies. As The Hill points out, these subsidies disproportionately benefit farm owners who need them the least: “In 2016, 27 percent of commodity payments went to the small family farmers who make up 90 percent of all farms. They also only got 17 percent of crop-insurance protection. Seventy-three percent of commodity payments and 83 percent of crop-insurance indemnities went to the largest 10 percent of farms.”
Did I mention that Rep. Hartzler has received almost $1 million in federal farm subsidies? Because Rep. Hartzler has received almost $1 million in federal farm subsidies.