House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway of Texas has placed the debate on the next Farm Bill on hold. The hold will most likely also delay the expected committee debate and mark-up until after the Easter break.
This delay comes as committee Democrats continue to voice their opposition to the provision in the draft bill that would increase the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients (SNAP) subject to work requirements. Part of the proposal is to use the savings from the reduction in overall enrollment to expand state employment and training programs.
The top Democrat on the committee, Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson says the bill could push 8 million people from the SNAP rolls. On the other hand, Conway counters that far fewer people would leave the program.
To pass a Farm Bill on the floor of the House, Chairman Conaway most likely needs sufficient votes from Democrats to offset the anticipated lost Republican votes by members who oppose other provisions of the bill.