Congress Food

Paul Ryan’s Last Grasp Has Been Pulled From The Farm Bill

Written by SK Ashby

There's no guarantee that our still-Republican-controlled Congress will be able to pass their farm bill before the current session of Congress formally ends but, if they do, it will not include the last policy Speaker Paul Ryan personally pushed for on his way out the door.

Routine passage of the farm bill broke down earlier this year because Ryan made it his personal mission to attach strict work requirements for access to food stamps to the bill.

According to Politico, Congress has reached a tentative agreement to pass the farm bill without Ryan's work requirements or any other egregious poison pills.

The deal is not expected to include stricter work requirements for millions of food-stamp recipients — an outcome that would reject a controversial provision from the House bill that motivated Democrats to oppose the House measure. The House Republican proposal, which Trump has backed, made the nutrition title the highest-profile policy disagreement between the two chambers during negotiations.

Adding stricter work requirements to food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has always been considered politically unworkable in the Senate, where lawmakers easily passed a bill that would not make any changes to existing food-stamp work requirements.

Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have pointed to the Senate bill's bipartisan support — it passed in June by a margin of 86-11, whereas the House bill was cleared by just two votes — to argue against the House Republican proposal.

Paul Ryan has spent the last 8 years pushing for a Randian reconstruction of virtually every federal assistance program and this was his last chance to implement at least one of his proposals. He'll now leave office with nothing to show for it except higher deficits and debt.

Even without Ryan's work requirements, the farm bill will still have to pass through both chambers of Congress once it's been scored by the Conference Committee and the Congressional Budget Office and it's possible they haven't left themselves enough time to do that.

The House of Representatives is only scheduled to be in session for 9 days between tomorrow and December 13th when Congress will leave town for the holidays. There's only 4 days of session between tomorrow and December 7th, the deadline for funding the federal government to prevent a partial shutdown.