The Republican-led House has narrowly passed a sweeping farm bill that would toughen work requirements for food stamp recipients.
The bill passed 213-211. U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood, who represent Bloomington-Normal, both supported the bill.
Democrats opposed the measure, saying it would toss too many people off government food assistance.
The measure renews the safety net for farmers as President Donald Trump's tough talk on tariffs threatens to close markets for many of their products.
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said his members were pleased.
“Illinois farmers face daunting challenges in a declining farm economy and a dim outlook when it comes to trade – which is crucial to maintaining farmer profitability,” Guebert said in a statement. “Passage of the 2018 farm bill puts the pieces in place to get crop insurance and risk management programs on the books for farmers when they need them most. What’s more, the bill also contains Illinois Farm Bureau’s proposal to streamline farm bill sign up.”
The vote Thursday marked the House's second attempt to pass a farm bill. GOP leaders suffered an embarrassing setback in May when 30 GOP members opposed passage in an effort to get a vote on immigration legislation.
Davis, a Taylorville Republican, applauded passage of the farm bill.
“Passing this bill not only shows support for agriculture, but it shows the American people that we are not satisfied with the status quo, which is a welfare system that perpetuates poverty,” Davis said in a statement. “Despite our growing economy, we still have 9 million more people on SNAP today than we did at the height of the recession when jobs were scarce and unemployment reached double-digits. By investing historic amounts in workforce training, this bill will help pair work-capable adults receiving SNAP benefits with jobs being created by our economy. We should always strive to make government better and this bill does that.”
The House bill sets up a certain clash with the Senate, which looks to make mostly modest adjustments to existing programs and doesn't pick a food stamps fight.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.