Nation headed over ‘food stamp cliff’
10/26/13 05:00 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill
There is little chance that Congress will act to avert what hunger activists call the “food stamp cliff” — a cut to benefits that will affect some 47 million beneficiaries, including children and the elderly.
The cut takes effect on Nov. 1, and will bring an end to a funding increase that Democrats wrapped into President Obama’s 2009 stimulus law.
For a family of four, the cut will be $36 per month, or about 20 meals under the Department of Agriculture’s estimate for the cost of a “thrifty meal.” Single adults will see their monthly benefits reduced to $189 per month, for a cut of $11.
“We have never seen a cut like this affecting all beneficiaries,” said Lisa Davis of the food bank network Feeding America. “With the government shutdown and other national and international issues going on, many people have no idea this is coming.
Farm Bill passes in House, without food stamp funding
July 11 at 3:40 pm By Ed O’Keefe – washingtonpost
House Republicans successfully passed a Farm Bill Thursday by splitting apart funding for food stamps from federal agricultural policy, a move that infuriated the White House and congressional Democrats who spent most of the day trying to delay a final vote.
Lawmakers voted 216 to 208 make changes to federal agricultural policy and conservation programs and end direct subsidy payments to farmers. But the measure says nothing about funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which historically constitutes about 80 percent of the funding in a Farm Bill.
No House Democrat voted for the measure. Twelve Republicans also opposed it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted in favor of it, even though speakers traditionally don’t vote.
The vote made clear that Republicans intend to make significant reductions in food stamp money and handed Republican leaders a much-needed victory three weeks after conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats revolted and blocked the original version of the bill that included food stamp money.
House GOP moves forward with $40 billion cut to food stamps
September 16, 2013, 06:44 pm By Erik Wasson – TheHill
House Republicans on Monday introduced a food stamp reform bill that they say will cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years.
The move sets up a dramatic debate and vote on the bill on Thursday, with the fate of the stalled farm bill likely hanging in the balance.
The House Rules Committee announced a meeting on Wednesday on HR 3102.
The bill contains twice as much in cuts as the House Agriculture Committee originally sought for the program and it was devised by a task force led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) after an integrated farm bill failed on the House floor this summer.
The House later passed a bill just dealing with the rest of the farm bill, including crop subsidies and crop insurance, before the August recess.
Food stamps reduced; Congress debates more cuts
11/1/13 MARY CLARE JALONICK – AP
WASHINGTON — More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will see their benefits go down starting Friday, just as Congress has begun negotiations on further cuts to the program.
Beginning in November, a temporary benefit from the 2009 economic stimulus that boosts food stamp dollars will no longer be available. According to the Agriculture Department, that means a family of four receiving food stamps will start receiving $36 less a month.
The benefits, which go to 1 in 7 Americans, fluctuate based on factors that include food prices, inflation and income. The rolls have swelled as the economy has struggled in recent years, with the stimulus providing higher benefits and many people signing up for the first time.
As a result, the program has more than doubled in cost since 2008, now costing almost $80 billion a year. That large increase in spending has turned the program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, into a target for House Republicans looking to reduce spending.
Negotiations on a wide-ranging farm bill, including cuts to the SNAP program, began Wednesday. Five-year farm bills passed by both the House and the Senate would cut food stamps, reductions that would come on top of the cut that will go into effect Friday. But the two chambers are far apart on the amounts.
Legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House would cut food stamps by an additional $4 billion annually and tighten eligibility requirements. The House bill would also end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place.
The Senate farm bill would cut a tenth of the House amount, with Democrats and President Barack Obama opposing major cuts.
Farm-state lawmakers have been pushing the farm bill for more than two years, and Wednesday’s conference negotiations represented the opening round in final talks. If the bill is not passed by the end of the year and current farm law is not extended, certain dairy supports would expire that could raise the price of milk. Farmers would start to feel more effects next spring.
SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.
- Applicants and Recipients
Oct 17, 2013 – Reuters
WASHINGTON,- President Barack Obama, in a rebuke to proposals by House Republicans for steep cuts in food stamps for the poor, urged Congress on Thursday to pass a farm bill “that protects children and vulnerable adults in time of need.”
Obama put the long-delayed bill, more than a year overdue, among three priorities for resolution by end of the year. Also on the list were immigration reform and a budget agreement.
Food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, are the make-or-break issue for the $500 billion, five-year farm bill. House Republicans want to tighten eligibility rules and save $39 billion over a decade. The Democratic-run Senate suggested $4.5 billion could be squeezed out by closing certain loopholes.
In remarks at the White House, Obama said “we should pass a farm bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.”
The administration has threatened twice to veto large cuts in food stamps. It said Congress should instead end the $5 billion-a-year “direct payment” subsidy to farmers and scale back on federal subsidies for crop insurance.
Obama credited the Senate for writing “a solid, bipartisan” bill. “If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them. Let’s negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let’s get this done,” said Obama.
Contact your Congress person to RESTORE THE FOOD STAMPS BENEFITS TO THE MOST NEEDY IN THESE DIRE TIMES!