“The need for disaster assistance isn’t just about farmers and ranchers; it affects consumers, rural communities, and farm equipment manufacturers,” the California Democrat wrote.
The same letter underscored why leadership has been reticent to allow the bill on the floor.
“I do not support the cuts to the food and nutrition programs,” Pelosi wrote. “But, these differences are all the more reason to bring the bill up for a vote under an open rule that provides all Members with an opportunity to debate the issues [and] offer amendments.”
Such an amendment debate could be brutal for Republicans. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who sits on the Agriculture panel, offered an amendment to cut SNAP further in committee and said he would do so on the floor, too.
He and other conservatives would also consider an amendment to lop the bill in half, splitting the nutrition aid from farm programs.
“I think we need some assurances on the floor that we can get some food stamp reforms,” the Kansas Republican said. “There’s going to be a fight on that. I’m not afraid to fight.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.