Former U.S. Rep. Tom Foley (D-Wash.), 84, is in hospice care due to a variety of ailments, according to a report in the Seattle Times. Foley was elected to Congress in 1965 and served until 1995. He represented Eastern Washington, including Spokane. He served as speaker of the house from 1989–1995, and was the first from west of the Rocky Mountains to attain that office.
According to the newspaper, Foley was the architect of combining food stamps and farm spending in the same spending bill so that both rural and urban representatives would be more inclined to support it. This coalition has recently shown signs of unraveling, with House Republicans attempting to place the farm programs and food stamps in separate bills. Democrats who control the Senate have vowed not to go along with this piecemeal approach. The current Farm Bill was renewed in 2012 and is set to expire at the end of September unless the two houses of Congress can agree on an approach. President Obama has said he won’t sign any legislation that deals with farm programs and food stamps separately.