The US Senate passed a farm bill on Tuesday, December 11, and the House of Representatives followed suit the following day. These votes represented the end of a deadlock over a proposed strengthening of the work requirements for the food stamp program.
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or “food stamps”) has long included a work requirement for able bodied adults without dependents, 50 years old or younger. Such beneficiaries are limited to three months of SNAP within three years unless they are either working or receiving training.
But the Republican majority in the House wanted that restriction to include able bodied adults as old as 59, and wanted to order the states to expand their training programs as a condition of continued receipt of SNAP money. Many of the states reported that they weren’t ready: that the training upgrades required in the House bill could not be in place for years. The Senate wanted to leave SNAP unchanged.
The Thing to Know:
After the Democrat Party won the House elections in November, the “lame-duck” Republican leadership retreated from their position on that and on certain other controversies holding up talks between the two chambers.