Surprise! Costs Soar for Food Stamp and Farm Bill

With the food stamp and farm becoming a “partisan flash point” on the campaign trail, it is worth highlighting why so many conservatives opposed the typically bipartisan bill.

Promised reforms to the food stamp program, which comprises roughly 80 percent of the bill’s total spending, are falling predictably short:

THEN: The conference report lacks serious reforms.  While it does close the “heat-and-eat” loophole, it does not contain a repeal of broad-based categorical eligibility and states are able to completely bypass asset tests for food stamp applicants.  Additionally, states will be able to continue receiving waivers to undo what minimal work requirements were in place.  (Heritage Action, Jan. 2014)

NOW: Cuts to the nation’s food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found. As a result, it’s unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that the GOP had advertised. … Among the 16 states that allow the practice or some form of it, 12 governors have taken steps to avoid the food stamp cuts. (Associated Press, Sep. 2014)

Same goes for the farm portion of the farm bill: 

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Food Stamp Shenanigans Due to Farm Bill Loopholes Fulfill Conservative Predictions

It’s tempting to go on a tirade about all the terrible policies packed into the trillion food stamp and farm bill, but recent reports make it a little easier for us to hone in on one glaring problem: food stamp fraud and the explosive costs of and participation in the food stamp program

Farm bill supporters boasted before its passage of an expected $8.6 billion in savings on food stamps over 10 years by tightening a loophole in the food stamp program.  The cuts were related to the “heat and eat” program, which allowed participating states to give low-income households as little as $1 a year in home heating aid so they would qualify for more food stamps.

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Farm Bill Subsidies Grow, Told You Sow

According to new analysis (sub. req’d) by economists with the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, the farm bill’s new Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program will cost more than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted before the farm bill became law:

Despite the elimination of direct payments, the new farm bill is going to pay off better than the 2008 law for many growers and could be more costly to taxpayers than the Congressional Budget Office estimated, according to an analysis released Thursday that provides the first up-to-date look at the bill’s impact.

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Report: Agriculture Department Underestimated Farm Bill Cost

What does the figure $21 billion mean to you?

If you care how much money remains in your wallet and how much is confiscated by the federal government for costly, outdated agriculture programs, it should mean a lot.

On February 7, President Obama signed into law the $1 trillion food stamp and farm bill. Conservatives had long warned that this bill is a massive burden to taxpayers that inappropriately combines food stamp policy and farm policy, preventing either portion from being reformed.

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Last week, the House passed the food stamp and farm bill by a vote of 251 to 166 (with 63 conservatives voting no).

Now the bill has moved to the Senate where a Tuesday vote is expected after Monday’s 72-22 vote for cloture. Conservatives need to stand strong against this wasteful spending bill.

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