Langevin Disappointed in Passage of Farm Bill

Jul 11, 2013 Issues: Animal Welfare, Children and Families, Disabilities, Vote

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) today expressed his disappointment in the partisan House passage of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, which reauthorizes Farm Bill programs while eliminating entirely the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program, formerly known as food stamps. Langevin voted against the bill today, and on June 20 voted against an earlier version of the bill that cut SNAP by $20 billion.

“I am upset and frustrated with my Republican colleagues who chose to eliminate all nutrition assistance before jamming this bill through the House,” Langevin said. “Three weeks ago, the House voted down the Republican Farm Bill, rejecting its draconian cuts to SNAP as unnecessarily harmful. The bill before us today contained virtually the same farm provisions, only this time it omitted any and all funding for nutrition programs. Splitting agricultural and nutrition policy sets a terrible precedent and I fear the negative impacts this legislation will have on our most vulnerable citizens.”

The House voted 216 to 208 to approve the bill, which was opposed by more than 500 agricultural groups, as well as environmental and animal welfare advocates. No Democrats supported the bill.

“In the wealthiest nation in human history, it is unconscionable that every American cannot afford life’s basic necessities,” Langevin continued. “SNAP helps millions of Americans living in poverty put food on the table. When we take food off of the plates of hungry children, we have a moral obligation to fully comprehend the consequences of those actions. Under this bill, thousands of Rhode Island families will see their SNAP benefits evaporate.”

Eighty percent of the households receiving SNAP earn below the federal poverty level, and 76 percent of participating households include a child, senior citizen or a person with a disability.