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The Boston Globe



Why hold US nutrition aid hostage to farm subsidies?

The US House’s surprise defeat of a renewed version of the so-called farm bill was widely seen as a sign of congressional dysfunction — but it was a blessing in disguise.

Historically, the bill has won broad support due to its combination of food stamps, which appeal to urban lawmakers, and farm subsidies favored by rural ones. However, this latest proposed iteration — which slashed $20.5 billion from federal nutrition programs while increasing subsidies and cost protections for farmers — was killed by an unlikely alliance of Democrats horrified by the prospect of 2 million Americans losing government aid and conservative Republicans who didn’t think the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program went deep enough.

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