Gillibrand to provoke Senate floor fight over food stamps


The Senate farm bill, authored by Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and ranking member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), reduces food stamp eligibility by limiting the ability of those receiving home heating assistance to automatically become eligible for food stamps as well. Overall, the Senate bill would reduce the budget deficit by $23.6 billion over 10 years by ending direct subsidy payments to farmers and replacing them with an expanded crop insurance system to cover shallow farm losses.

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The Senate bill cuts far less from food stamps than House Republicans have demanded. The House-passed budget would cut $134 billion from the program by turning it into a block grant for the states. The House Agriculture Committee came together to produce a bill making $36 billion in cuts.

Gillibrand's office sent a press release that included praise from a celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, viewed as the front-runner to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Senate will likely turn to the farm bill on Tuesday after failing to move to debate on paycheck equality legislation. Stabenow has said she has the 60 votes she needs to pass the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee hopes to mark up its own bill by the end of the month.