Inhofe’s amendment would have repealed the nutrition entitlement programs and established a nutrition assistance block grant program for states instead. He said his amendment would allow the Senate to separate the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, from the farm bill.
The Senate is considering a $955 billion five-year farm bill and is expecting to continue amendment work through the week.
S. 954 would cut more than $23 billion from current spending levels over 10 years, including $4 billion worth of cuts to food stamps, which has led to some Democratic opposition.
Inhofe complained that a $4 billion cut wasn’t enough, adding that the farm bill should be about farms rather than a “charity program.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowUSDA to ease school meal standards Medicare’s coverage decisions need more input from physicians Members help package meals at Kraft Heinz charity event in DC MORE (D-Mich.) urged senators to oppose Inhofe’s amendment because it would cap the supplemental nutrition at half the current levels.
“I rise in strong opposition to block granting and cutting the food assistance program,” Stabenow said. “We have a value system that says we’re going to make sure when families are hit on hard times to no fault of their own, that they’re not going to starve. … I think that’s the best about us.”
She also said that block grants wouldn’t guarantee that the states use the funds to feed needy families.
GOP Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump signs executive order creating new VA office Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts Georgia campaigns keep up pressure ahead of runoff vote MORE (Ga.), Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissGOP hopefuls crowd Georgia special race Democrats go for broke in race for Tom Price's seat Spicer: Trump will 'help the team' if needed in Georgia special election MORE (Ala.), John HoevenJohn HoevenCongress nears deal on help for miners Overnight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Congress nears deal on help for miners MORE (N.D.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanTrump talks big on trade, but workers need action Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Regulation: Senators call for 'cost-effective' regs | FCC chief unveils plans to roll back net neutrality MORE (Ohio), Bob CorkerBob CorkerState spokesman: Why nominate people for jobs that may be eliminated? The Hill's 12:30 Report Senate Foreign Relations chair: Erdogan referendum win 'not something to applaud' MORE (Tenn.), Pat RobertsPat RobertsUSDA to ease school meal standards Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Energy: Trump to sign orders on offshore drilling, national monuments MORE (Kan.), Thad CochranThad CochranMcConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown Lawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups MORE (Miss.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Schumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (Alaska) voted with Democrats against the amendment.
After the vote on Inhofe's amendment failed, the Senate unanimously consented to passing an amendment from Sen. Al FrankenAl FrankenWhat killing net neutrality means for the internet Overnight Tech: Net neutrality fight descends into trench warfare | Zuckerberg visits Ford factory | Verizon shines light on cyber espionage Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal MORE (D-Minn.), which would allow grocery delivery services for seniors and people with disabilities on food stamps. An amendment from Sen. David VitterDavid VitterFormer senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World MORE (R-La.) was also agreed to. Vitter's amendment would prohibit some convicted felons from receiving food assistance benefits.
The White House has said it supports the Senate farm bill.
The House has a $940 billion farm bill that cuts spending by $39.7 billion over 10 years — $20.5 billion are cuts to food stamps. The House bill likely won’t get a floor vote until June.