North Florida Congressman Al Lawson is among the 20 people on the House Agriculture Committee voting “no” on a federal farm bill that would impose work requirements on food stamps.
During a visit with farmers from around the big bend last month, Lawson predicted Republican congressional leaders would tie welfare changes to the bill, and he said in March that would be a no-go for him.
“It’s about $300 billion of the budget and people depend on it, and you don’t want to cause extreme problems to people who can’t afford to work, people who need assistance in order to sustain a better quality of life," he said at the time.
The current version of the bill mandates work requirements with exemptions for some people.
Lawson says the approval of the measure will, "take food away from millions of seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities and our most vulnerable citizens struggling to make ends meet. As a nation, we should be steadfast in eradicating hunger. This bill does not do that. There are several important provisions in the Farm Bill that benefit our nation’s agriculture industry – many of these I would like to support. But, I could not at the expense of our nation’s most vulnerable. I urge Republicans to work with Democrats to negotiate a compromise Farm Bill that does not weaken our ability to fight hunger or support farmers.”
The farm bill is also carrying billions more dollars in subsidies for farmers, including those recovering from hurricane damage and now facing the possibility of having tariffs imposed on the goods they export. Lawmakers are hoping to offset the impact of those tariffs by offering additional subsidies on goods.