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The food stamp savings will be realized by closing a loophole used in some states — but not Minnesota — to qualify residents for food stamps. People who received as little as $1 from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program were deemed eligible for nutrition assistance.
Democrats Rick Nolan and Betty McCollum joined Republicans Erik Paulsen and John Kline in voting for approval.
The state’s dissenters came from the left — Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat — and the right — Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican. Each mentioned food stamps in explaining their votes.
Bachmann said nutrition, which makes up $756 billion of the farm bill’s $956 billion price tag, should be separated from agricultural programs. Ellison said cuts to food stamps were too severe when wealthy farmers were allowed to benefit from crop insurance and price protection.
“This bill is not perfect,” Rep. Tim Walz, the Democrat who represents Minnesota’s First Congressional District, said on the floor of the House. “Someone said you get perfect in heaven. Sometimes this place can be hell.”
Jim Spencer • 202-383-6123