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Foster Supports Bipartisan Five-Year Farm Bill Agreement, Expresses Disappointment In Cuts To SNAP Food Assistance

Jan 29, 2014
Press Release

Washington -- Today, Congressman Bill Foster voted for H.R.2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. This bipartisan agreement reauthorizes farm and nutrition programs for five-years and reduces the deficit by billions of dollars, providing certainty for Illinois’ agricultural economy and the thousands of jobs it supports.

“It is good for our country when Democrats and Republicans are able to work together and pass bipartisan legislation as we did today with the farm bill,” said Foster. “This bill cuts wasteful agricultural subsidies and keeps our grocery bills low. I was especially pleased that the bill funds the PILT program, which helps towns in my district carry out vital services such as firefighting, law enforcement and building roads and schools. However, as in most compromises, this legislation is far from perfect.  I am deeply disappointed in the cuts to the SNAP food assistance program.  SNAP is a critical program which gives children, families and seniors who are struggling an essential hand up – funding for food assistance shouldn’t be first on the chopping block. “

The final agreement reduces spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $8 billion over ten years by closing an unintended loophole that allowed some states to boost food stamp benefits by providing minimum levels of energy assistance. SNAP recipients in Illinois will not be impacted by this change and will not see a cut to benefits. The bill also increases assistance to food banks and provides additional funding for pilot programs aimed at job training for SNAP recipients.  

The bill ends the unnecessary direct payment program to farmers, saving taxpayers nearly $40 billion. It strengthens conservation efforts to protect Illinois’ land for future generations, and strengthens crop insurance for Illinois farmers.