Obama threatens to veto House farm bill

The White House on Monday threatened to veto the farm bill coming to the House this week.

President Obama is opposed to $20.5 billion in food stamp cuts in the bill, the White House said in an official policy statement. 

That statement also says it does not get enough budget savings from cuts to farm subsidies.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The bill would reduce access to food assistance for struggling families and their children, does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms, and does not provide funding for renewable energy, which is an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country," the White House said. 

"If the president were presented with H.R. 1947, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill," it added. 

The Statement of Administration Policy also faults the bill for failing to reform international food aid programs. Obama has proposed changing food aid so that it is no longer focused on purchasing U.S. farm goods. 

Critics say the approach is costly, reduces the amount of aid made available and actually has the perverse effect of driving poor farmers in developing nations out of business.

The White House also wants a link between conservation and crop insurance, a link made in the Senate-passed farm bill. The administration last month said it generally supported passage of the Senate farm bill but said it would try to enact deeper reforms to farm subsidies and crop insurance. 

It is unclear how the veto threat will affect the House vote on the farm bill. 

The bill is opposed by conservatives who want deeper cuts to food stamps, so some Democratic votes will be needed for it to pass. Pro-bill Democrats are arguing that their colleagues should vote for the bill to get to a House-Senate conference where the food stamp cuts will be reduced. The Senate farm bill cuts the program by only $4 billion.