Hunger relief advocates in Minnesota are decrying a farm bill passed Thursday by the U.S. House that makes changes to agricultural policy but says nothing about funding for food stamps.
Food stamps are traditionally part of the farm bill, but the House split the bill in order to get more conservative support. Republican leaders say they'll handle food stamps later.
Colleen Moriarty, the executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, says the move leaves food stamps -- officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP -- vulnerable to deep cuts.
"I think it's a disaster. I think it's a direct assault on 580,000 Minnesotans who are depending on SNAP to be able to get back on their feet, who need assistance and don't know where the next meal is coming from," she said.
The executive director of Second Harvest Heartland food bank, Rob Zeaske, calls SNAP the backbone of support for many hungry Minnesotans.
"We know that last year 46 million Americans participated in the SNAP program. So we're very concerned that this is another attempt to destabilize what has been a very efficient, effective program at helping some of our neighbors when they need the help most," he said.
The bill heads next to the Senate, but Democrats there say they won't take it up unless food stamps are included.