WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The U.S. House’s debate on the farm bill focused on amendments that would restrict subsidies and make cuts to the food stamp program, setting them up for votes.
During floor debate Wednesday, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., proposed an amendment that would allow farm subsidies to producers with an average gross income of no more than $250,000 with a limit of $50,000 per person, The Hill said.
Kind said the changes would prevent million-dollar payments to farmers, saving $11 billion. But Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, charged the cuts would be a “slap in the face” to farmers and would penalize U.S. producers compared to their overseas competitors.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, closed debate by urging members to oppose the change, The Hill said.
Members also debated several amendments concerning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after rejecting a Democratic proposal that would have restored $20.5 billion in cuts in the next 10 years and approving language that would allow states to conduct drug tests on food stamp applicants.
Among amendments awaiting a vote is one offered by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., that would prohibit imposition of a Christmas tree “tax,” The Hill said
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said the “tax” is a 15 cents per Christmas tree fee producers want to charge to help fund marketing programs.
Another proposal awaiting action is one from Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., that would allow colleges to cultivate hemp for academic research.
An amendment offered by Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., that would repeal the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center also awaits a floor vote.