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These Farm Programs Will Turn Into Pumpkins Sunday If Congress Doesn’t Act
Top negotiator on farm bill doesn’t want extension that could keep them afloat

Work requirements for SNAP recipients have been a sticking point as lawmakers try to reach a deal on the farm bill. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images file photo)

Dozens of programs for military veterans turned farmers, small rural businesses and expanding foreign markets for agriculture will end Sunday if lawmakers do not extend the expiring 2014 farm bill.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas said Monday that “it’ll be a tall order” to get a replacement for the current law completed and enacted before the midterm elections in November.

Another Farm Bill Trouble Spot: Ex-Prisoners Growing Hemp
The conference committee met Wednesday morning ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., opened the first public meeting of the farm bill conference committee Wednesday along with along with Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas (not pictured). (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates for criminal justice reform hope to convince lawmakers to reject a provision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate farm bill that would deny people with drug felony convictions the chance to be hemp farmers.

Nine Senate and 47 House negotiators met publicly for the first time Wednesday to lay out their positions on how to proceed in reconciling House and Senate versions of the five-year legislation. Lawmakers will push to have a compromise bill ready before the current farm and food policy law expires Sept. 30.

McConnell Hopeful Farm Bill Conference Report Ready for Vote After Labor Day
Treatment of work requirements under SNAP an issue

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he is hopeful a farm bill conference report will be ready for a vote after Labor Day. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate agreed by voice vote Tuesday to go conference with the House to negotiate a new version of the farm bill before the current legislation expires, even if that means working through the summer recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he was hopeful the farm bill conference report would be ready for a vote after Labor Day. The Senate is expected to name nine negotiators, five Republicans and four Democrats.

When Pig Selfies Fly: Pig Book Provides Ritual Railing Against Pork
Pigs give professed pig castrator Sen. Joni Ernst plenty of space

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with a pig Wednesday at the 2018 Congressional Pig Book launch event hosted by Citizens Against Government Waste . (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake was at it again Wednesday, taking selfies with a potbellied pig.

Each year, the Arizona Republican attempts to snap photos with costumed pig characters, as well as Faye, the potbellied pig that serves as the mascot for the annual “Pig Book” release by watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

House Set to Start Farm Bill Talks With Senate Before Recess
Senate version does not include new work requirements

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, says he is ready to go to conference on the farm bill with the Senate, but work requirements for food stamps are shaping up to be a sticking point. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is expected to trigger farm bill negotiations Wednesday, raising the House Agriculture Committee chairman’s hopes that public pressure in support of expanded work requirements for food stamp recipients could help move Senate negotiators toward accepting the House legislation.

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway said he is ready to go to conference on the farm bill with the Senate. The Texas Republican said the House will vote Wednesday afternoon to launch negotiations with the Senate that will resolve differences between the chambers on a new five-year farm bill. The most contentious divide between the chambers is the scope of work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Senate and House to Negotiate on Farm Bill After Recess
Senators overwhelmingly passed their farm bill Thursday

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow were united in keeping the chamber’s farm bill a bipartisan one. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate passed its farm bill Thursday by a vote of 86-11, after rejecting a proposal that would have reduced food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults.

The vote clears the path for a Senate-House conference committee after Congress returns from the weeklong Fourth of July recess. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow remained united in keeping the bill bipartisan by working to prevent contentious provisions from being added to it.

Podcast: A Growing Controversy
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 13

MAY 26: Farm land is watered by a large irrigation sprinkler in the desert near Palmdale, Calif., on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Government Reorg Plan Greeted Without Fanfare
Key members of Congress seemed unaware of details as White House plan was released

The Office of Management and Budget, led by Director Mick Mulvaney, released a sweeping reorganization proposal on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to reorganize the federal government won’t likely be moving to the top of the Senate agenda anytime soon.

“This effort, along with the recent executive orders on federal unions, are the biggest pieces so far of our plan to drain the swamp,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said of the proposals. “I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”

Opinion: Work Requirements Don’t Actually Work
They do nothing to reduce poverty or address the underlying economic inequality

Demonstrators at a news conference with faith leaders on Capitol Hill on May 7. A growing body of social science research shows that work requirements do nothing to reduce poverty, DeLauro and Sánchez write. (Sarah Silbiger /CQ Roll Call file photo)

Under the guise of “promoting work” and “reform,” the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are seeking radical changes to the way we fight poverty in America.

Let us not be fooled, Republican proposals that tie strict so-called work requirements to anti-poverty programs are designed to make it harder for people to access basic services such as health care, nutrition and housing.

Opinion: Ignore the Hyperbole, Encouraging Work Is a Worthy Goal
Work requirements and other reforms offer a pathway out of poverty for many

Job seekers fill out registration forms at a career fair in San Francisco in 2015. The House Republican farm bill directs a significant portion of existing SNAP funds into job training programs for eligible adults, Thompson writes. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

The economy is soaring and unemployment is at its lowest point in more than a decade. Despite this good news, far too many Americans find themselves out of the workforce or lacking the skills needed to land a good-paying job.

Yet there are more than six million job openings throughout the country.