Congressman Says SNAP Work Requirement "The Gorilla In the Room" For Farm Bill

Sep 6, 2018

Kentucky Congressman James Comer

Kentucky Congressman James Comer said there are a lot of minor differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill, but the “big gorilla in the room" is SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) work requirements. Comer is on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee that met Wednesday. Controversial work requirements for the program often called ‘food stamps’ remains a sticking point. Comer strongly supports the requirements and sees no compromise on the issue.

"You either do the work requirements or you do not. There's nowhere to meet in the middle. Everywhere else where there’s differences we can meet in the middle, we can compromise. But with respect to work requirements, there’s just really nowhere to compromise on that. You either do them or not," he said. 

Comer says the requirements present an opportunity for welfare reform. He says employers in Kentucky's First District can't find workers to fill entry-level positions. Comer says ag policy is the most important part of the Farm Bill and says it’s “uncharted territory” if it doesn’t pass by September 30.

Kentucky Congressman James Comer sais he understands what’s at stake for farmers as they await a final version of the 2018 Farm Bill. The deadline is less than a month away for the sweeping legislation that provides a safety net for farmers and determines agriculture and food policy legislation for five years. Comer is on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee that met Wednesday to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. The looming deadline comes at a time of uncertainty for farmers.

“I feel their pain as a farmer. I know that commodity prices are at cyclical lows. I know we’re all concerned about a potential trade war. And the one thing that is very important to farmers is that we have a farm bill that provides the opportunities to purchase crop insurance," he said.

Comer saidthe bill also supports beginning farmer loan programs and provisions for environmental conservation programs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promoting a hemp provision in the Senate version. A major sticking point in the conference committee is an expansion of SNAP work requirements.