Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House are expected to vote Thursday or Friday on the merits of this year's farm bill. The bill makes numerous changes to ongoing programs, including strengthening work requirements for people who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
Republican Second District Representative Bruce Poliquin says the bill will also offer some exemptions for Maine families who currently receive those SNAP benefits.
"If you have kids under 12-years-old or you have other dependents at home, we want to make sure we accomodate you," Poliquin said.
Democratic First District Representative Chellie Pingree said that in its current form, she would not vote for the bill because it would eliminate nutritional benefits for many needy Maine families.
"Right now it would be hard to vote yes on this bill," Pingree says. "Not only are there just egregious changes to the SNAP benefit program that could have a huge impact on Maine, and particularly on children, seniors, disabled people, who these are very important benefits for."
The 641-page bill also makes changes to agricultural issues, including conservation, farm loan programs, livestock disaster programs and rural broadband services.
Additional reporting by Mal Leary.