On Food Stamps? Not For Long, If The House Has Its Way


Leaders in the House of Representatives have proposed a farm bill that would cut $1.6 billion in aid from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, part of $3.5 billion in proposed annual cuts.

The bill, which has been offered as a bipartisan compromise by House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., could force as many as three million low-income people off of food assistance programs.

The cuts would slash $16.5 billion in food aid out of the budget over ten years. Most of the cuts would come from the elimination of “categorical eligibility,” which allows states to tie eligibility for SNAP funds to the states’ standards for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Currently, over 40 states use the criteria to determine SNAP eligibility, which can sometimes mean people earning more than 130 percent of the poverty line can get aid if their disposable income falls below that line, due to child care costs related to work, for example.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that between two and three million people could lose their benefits. Additionally, the change in criteria would cause 280,000 children to lose eligibility for free or reduced school lunch. The cuts also would eliminate state flexibility in administering the TANF and SNAP programs.

“Underfunding this critically important program when families temporarily rely on it to put food on the table in a tough economy is irresponsible and inhumane,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in a statement given to the Huffington Post.

Peterson emphasized the need for action, saying that unless the House acts soon, “We jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation’s fragile economy.”

The House has been under pressure to take some action on the farm bill. The current farm bill expires on September 30, and Congress would have to either pass a new funding bill or a temporary extension before then to avoid a massive disruption in federal farm and aid programs.

The Senate has already passed a farm bill, which would cut $23 billion in spending over 10 years but which does not feature the significant cuts to aid programs that the House proposal does. The Senate bill passed with bipartisan support by a 64-35 vote.

Farm Funding Also Cut

The House bill, like the bill passed by the Senate, would cut a significant amount of money from direct aid to farmers, moving farm aid to more of an insurance-based model.

Both the House and Senate bills would eliminate the Direct Payment program, which gives aid to farmers even when they do not plant a crop. The Senate bill offers crop insurance to protect against losses, while the House bill offers farmers a choice of either insurance or a price support program.

Assuming the House is able to pass a bill, the House and Senate bills would have to go to a conference committee where differences would be hashed out. Whatever compromise can be reached between the two houses will face serious headwinds. House conservatives have been demanding even more severe cuts in food aid than the House compromise bill proposes, and the Democratic-controlled Senate has been loath to authorize any cuts to aid to the needy, especially during a slow recovery from a deep recession.


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Image Credit: Clementine Gallot


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

We feed the whole damned world.... with agricultural exports, and we won't even feed our own poor people? We have no excuse here.

Joanna B.
Joanna B5 years ago

I was just thinking that there should be certain programs that noone should be able to regulate or touch and food stamps is one of them. Maybe we should start a petition to make it a necessity that food stamps should never be cut, ever. It should always remain in the federal budget and never be messed with, ever be messed with. Ever. I dont give a damn about sending a spaceship or robotic whatever to Mars. Feed the people that live here first. I just think that it is really really horrible for anyone to have to starve and be hungry. They rather spend money to play golf, blow up some country and have a war than make sure people in this country eat. It is a shame that our so called Congress and House of Representatives are willing to do that to their own citizens.

Mae T.
Mae T5 years ago

with the job market like it is today food stamps are needed. Most people working PT are evening FT at the minium wage with a family of 3/4 how can they make it w/o the assistant
of food stamps. Avg rent 650.and up, light,gas,insurance, phone, car maint. go figure how's one to make it. If it can be one please let me know. No I don't get FS but we live pretty much check to check.

Walter G.
Walter G5 years ago

One way to correct this stupid situation, vote out as many incumbents as you can. In other words, if they're in offiice, remove them. That is the only language which speaks successfully to corruption.

dale ruff
Past Member 5 years ago

$4 a day for food for hungry people (a majority being children) is outrageous! The richest nation in history, which gives 220 billion in subsidies to corporations (with the majority going to 3 wealthy industries: finance, telecommunications, and energy), which has spent several trillion on "elective" wars, and has given a trillion in tax cuts to the very rich over the past decade, cannot afford $4 a day to feed the hungry!
This is common sense. And if they can't buy the nutritious foods mandated by the SNAP program, let them eat...........dumpster food, insects, erasers (a favorite of hungry students).

Jesus warned us that feeding the hungry would curse us forever. The UN Declaration of Rights, which proclaims the right to food, is a commie conspiracy to create dependent slaves.

Some will starve (millions do each year) so others may grow fat. That is God's plan.

Help the House fulfill God's plan by writing your congressman and insisting he support the bill to cut foodstamps. We need that money to increase the 1.2 trillion security budget and to extend tax cuts to the billionaires. Feeding the hungry only encourages them to eat......

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago

who does the house represent?

federico bortoletto

Grazie dell'articolo.