Durbin: Senate won’t touch split farm bill

For decades, Congress has taken up farm bills that combine subsidies for farmers with food programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. But last week, the House approved legislation addressing only farm issues after the chamber voted down an earlier version of the bill.

House leadership announced they would consider nutrition programs separately. 

“Separating out these two issues is not in the best interest of our country,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation." 

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Durbin said the Democrat-controlled Senate would not pass the legislation, or any farm bill that did not include nutrition programs.

Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Pa.), also appearing on the program, defended the decision and said the SNAP program is deeply flawed.

“We’re wasting billions of dollars on a program that doesn’t seem to be lifting people out of poverty,” Kelley said, noting that one in six Americans now receiving federal food assistance.

Durbin countered that the number of people eligible for the program is evidence of how crucial it is that it be funded.

“It’s because their wages and incomes are so low, they’re working but they can’t afford to feed their children,” Durbin charged. “It isn’t a matter of defrauding taxpayers.”

Earlier, Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, said on Fox News Sunday that he believed splitting the bill was a "bad tactic" that unnecessarily politicized the issue.