U.S. lawmakers have finally reached a farm bill agreement, which would leave out a proposal to tighten the food stamps criteria. The purpose of this is to offer a financial certainty to farmers, who are suffering from the country’s trade war with China.
The bill has passed the Senate by about 87-13. The staffers of the congressional are anticipating the House to vote by Thursday, and then send to bill agreement to the President for his signature before Friday.
The agreement between the Democrats and Republicans on the critical bill caps a month-long debate, which could cover an $867 billion worth of food and agricultural programs, such as crop subsidies and support to growers that are looking for access to the export markets.
As for the final text, it shows that Republicans in Congress had to walk back from some of their demands, to set a stricter requirement for the recipients of food stamps.
The legislation has been delayed by the debate which is beyond the most recent version expiration in September and has been only finalized after the Democrats have won in the House of Representatives in the majority, in the elections in November.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or the food stamps, is a free food program with vouchers that are used by about 12% of the total population of the USA.
Expanded to Subsidies for Nephews, Nieces, and Cousins
The bill’s passage is vital for the farmers who have been struggling with the trade wars in the U.S. China is usually one of the top customers of the farm production of the U.S., but they have been continuously absent from the market after the tariff’s imposition.
While most farmers are happy about the agreement, the others have disapproved the bill’s eligibility expansion for crop subsidies, which is to a farmer’s larger family to include first cousins, nieces, and nephews.
This move has caused Republican Senator, Chuck Grassley from Iowa, to vote against the bill agreement. Grassley claims that it is a loophole that gets bigger and bigger.
For now, the farmer’s actual family can be qualified for crop subsidies, which is about $125,000 per person that is based on active engagement. Rivals say that the language is a bit vague, and it might even be applied to those people who don’t even live on a farm and only carrying out management roles.
A staffer from the congressional has defended this move and said that farming is much different than it was about 50 years ago, as most family farmers aren’t necessarily on a tractor daily. Adding this clause can attract younger generations to farming.
The administration has also been criticized because a portion, even if it’s small, of the farm is designed to compensate losses by farmers from the deception of taxes, which ends up to the people living in the city who spends less time at the farm.