Both sides dig in over cutting food stamps
While battle lines harden, at least 234,000 fewer people are collecting the benefit from December's peak. That might not appease critics.
Updated at 4:36 p.m.
A fight is simmering over food stamps, one of the nation's most used social welfare benefits and a lightning rod for both conservatives and liberals.
The number of Americans tapping the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reached a record in December, bringing the program under fire for last year's $74.6 billion in spending. That's more than double what the program paid out before the Great Recession.
As a result, both the Senate and House are debating measures that would shave the program. The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday approved the Farm Bill, which would cut the SNAP program by about $4.1 billion, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee is considering its own version of the Farm Bill, which would trim about $2.5 billion a year.
The fight over the proposed cuts is coming from two sides: those who think the reductions don't go far enough and those who believe they will devastate already struggling families.
But lost amid the debate is the fact that demand for the benefit is easing from its December peak, when a record 47.8 million people received the aid. Since then, the program has shed about 234,000 people from its rolls, according the most recent data from the Department of Agriculture, which has posted figures through February.
While only a small improvement, it does suggest the program is helping some families get by until they're able to boost their incomes and get off the rolls.
The fighting over food stamps, though, is likely to ratchet up as the legislation progresses, with some Republicans, such as Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., complaining that the cuts are inadequate. Some critics also complain that the program allows people to buy unhealthful food such as Coca-Cola's (KO) sweetened soft drinks or Mondelez's (MDLZ) Oreo cookies.
"We believe we have to start moving in a direction that gets the spending trajectory of these programs down to a more reasonable level," Thune said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers are fighting the cuts, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., saying in a statement that the reductions will "literally take food away from hungry children."
Despite the recent decline in food stamp recipients, the number of Americans receiving SNAP benefits remains well above the levels seen just a few years ago. That means the debate won't die down anytime soon.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
It's the people that is abusing the "SNAP Program" that is making it hard for the ones that really need it. I know of a Lady that Lied to get over $700 in food stamps, telling that her Mom and others live with her when they don't. When you report them they do nothing about it, no home visits or nothing.
They need to make home visits, go to the homes and make them show ID"S. DHS need to do more then just approve them and be done with it. People that DON"T need food stamps can get them, ones that need it can't get it. They really need to change their "Guide Lines" Just my opinion!
Cut all off system. Teach society to hunt for a job! Its so abused now kids are running around with the parents EBT cards buying soda's and dam junk at the local liquor stores. Even adults are buying large amounts of food at the liquor store paying higher prices just because they are #1 embarrassed and #2 don't respect what is free and don't give a dam because they are all part of the nations scam! (if everyone is doing it, then its okay!) payments should not increase when parents have more children when on system either. I would start by removing the ATM/EBT cards and go back to paper and photo I.D.'s
My parents always taught me about NO FREE LUNCH, YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU WORK FOR & I always have to wonder where that concept got lost. Our government consists of a gang of vote seeking bleeding hearts that are never affected by their liberalism since it doesn't get them out of their limos or to ground level. I have a tremendous empathy for the needy , but not for the conniving freebie getters that are so abusive & know the system inside out. Witnessed a man that could not pay for dog food with his access card, so, he put that back in the grocery store & bought steak for his dog...ABUSIVE??
I've had enough. There should be a very tough, rigid system of checks & balances to determine genuine need!!
4 barracks, one mess hall per 4 bararacks, I dispensary per 12 barracks, I school for 16 barracks, I spare uniform ware house per 24 barracks.
They get a warm, dry place ro sleep and eat, an education and medical care and clothing.
No money, no way to get any money without working.
The Snap program will be halved in 90 days
Also, people routinely sell them for cash, so they can buy things like alcohol!!
Makes me, a person who works 40 + hours a week sick!
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