Steve Southerland's SNAP-Cut Amendment Blamed in House Defeat of Farm Bill

Some disappointed House Republicans are blaming Florida colleague Steve Southerland for losing, 195-234, a five-year farm bill leadership badly wanted. They say Southerland's amendment, which allowed states to require food stamp beneficiaries to either work or look for work, scared off Democrats who were previously on board with the $940 billion bill.

"... Southerland cost us 15 votes," said Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. "A lot of people came up to me and said, I'm with you, but I'm out now."

Characterizing the $20.5 billion in SNAP cuts as cruel, Democrats tried hard all week to defeat Southerland's amendment. Meanwhile, Republicans were warming to it, saying more cuts are needed to eliminate fraud and ensure people aren't becoming dependent on the program.

"[W]hen we see the expansion of the dependency class in America, and you add this to the 79 other means-tested welfare programs that we have in the United States … each time you add another brick to that wall, it's a barrier to people that might go out and succeed," Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said during a Wednesday debate.

The amendment gave states a powerful financial incentive for states to require SNAP recipients to work. It allowed them to keep half of the savings from cutting recipients off and to use the money for whatever they want — tax cuts, special-interest subsidies, or anything else.

Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., offered an amendment to restore the cuts, but it was rejected in a 188-234 vote.

Add a Comment

Comments (1)

Michael Dineen
11:16AM JUN 24TH 2013
So wait just a minute. Do the math: If the bill lost 234-195 this could not be due to losing 15 Democratic votes. If those votes went the other way, the bill still would have lost 219-210. The bill lost because the tea party controlled Republicans are more interested in screwing poor people than in responsibly governing the country. We should learn this lesson: If you elect a party that believes government is a threat a functional society, they will prove themselves right by making government exactly what they say it is.

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.