Wednesday, February 5, 2014

'Corporate Welfare' Triumphs as Farm Bill Fails the Hungry

Under the guise of cutting subsidies, bipartisan bill increases subsidies to major agribusiness

(Photo: Daniel Acker/Landov)
After years of wrangling, the U.S. Senate voted 68-32 Tuesday in favor of a farm bill currently poised to be signed by President Obama.

Farmer Alan Madison fills a seed hopper with Monsanto hybrid seed corn near Arlington, Illinois, U.S. Though the bill has some positive features including new conservation requirements for farm businesses that collect crop insurance subsidies and more funding for local and organic farmers, critics say the bad far outweighs the good.

Though not as drastic as the $40 billion in food stamp cuts that House Republicans had initially demanded, the final bill cuts food stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by $8.7 billion over ten years.

Putting that figure in context, MSNBC's Ned Resnikoff writes, "It’s official: 850,000 households across the country are set to lose an average of $90 per month in food stamp benefits."

Following news of the passage, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he was "very disappointed" about the SNAP cuts, adding that it is "both morally and economically wrong to cut assistance to families in a very difficult economy."

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