Usually optimistic Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said efforts to pass a comprehensive five-year farm bill by the end of September are like a “ticking time bomb ready to go off.”
In a teleconference with reporters Aug. 1, Stabenow said she had been hopeful to conference the farm bill in September, but recent moves by the House of Representatives to slash food stamp funding makes the path more difficult.
Before agreeing to conference with the Senate on a new farm bill, Stabenow said House leaders want to pass a bill for nutrition programs that were cut from the House-passed farm bill approved July 22. Media reports suggest Republicans want to cut food stamp funding by $40 billion over 10 years compared with the current farm bill. That is double an earlier proposal from House Republicans and won’t work with the Senate-passed farm bill, she said.
“I don’t understand the thinking in the House leadership when they are talking about putting forward something (for nutrition programs) that I’m not even sure can pass the House and certainly cannot become law,” she said. “This is wasted time and effort and it is getting in the way.”