Food Stamp Cuts Kick In as Congress Continues Debate

Farm Bill Q&A (FILE - This Dec. 4, 2012, file photo shows gallons of milk arranged at a Milwaukee grocery store. This week the S
Dinesh Ramde/AP

WASHINGTON -- More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will see their benefits go down starting Friday, just as Congress begins 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. Farm bills passed by both the House and the Senate would cut food stamps, reductions that would come on top of those that 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 change eligibility and work requirements. The Senate farm bill would cut a tenth of that 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 the conference negotiations represented the opening round in final talks.
If the bill isn't 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.

"It took us years to get here but we are here," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said. "Let's not take years to get it done."

The biggest obstacle to a final bill is how far apart the two parties are on food stamps. Lucas said at the conference meeting that he was hoping to find common ground on the issue, but House GOP leaders such Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., have insisted on higher cuts, saying the program should be targeted to the neediest people.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent out a statement as the meeting opened that said food stamp recipients "deserve swift action from Congress to pass a bill that provides the much-needed nutritional support for our children, our seniors, our veterans and our communities."

As Congress debates the cuts to the program, charities say they are preparing for the farm bill reductions as well as the scheduled cuts taking place Friday.

"Charities cannot fill the gap for the cuts being proposed to SNAP," said Maura Daly of Feeding America, a network of the nation's food banks. "We are very concerned about the impact on the charitable system."

Daly says food banks may have to as much as double their current levels of distribution if the House cuts were enacted. The Congressional Budget Office says as many as 3.8 million people could lose their benefits in 2014 if the House bill became law.

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You haven't lived until you've seen a little anointing by megachurch pastors of politicians. In this short video, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are anointed by pastors at Texas megachurch New Beginnings Church. In this case, it's particularly creepy because of Papa Cruz's prophetic fantasies of what his son Rafael Edward Cruz is destined to do.

The father, speaking of his son's anointing as "king":

November 05 2013 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

November 05 2013 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
We have opened the doors to the insane asylums and now we will spend years trying to get the crazies back in.

November 05 2013 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Religious fanatics scream about RIGHT TO LIFE. They get hysterical about any woman needing an abortion. Then the child is born and the screaming is over for that birth... let the kid starve is ok with these fools No schooling for this child - no schools, no education,,no home, no family.. no food.. Just the birth is so important to them...and they wonder why the world thinks they are crazy and cruel..

November 03 2013 at 6:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Adele's comment

Why would there be none of these things for the child adele?

November 03 2013 at 8:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh how sad that you are so consumed with hatred for the unborn. I bet you were in the drama club but it appears that you were not very good at it dear. You appear to be out of control and unable to compose yourself. How unfortunate for you.

November 05 2013 at 12:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 03 2013 at 5:21 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adele's comment

If the later part of your comment is true then there is waterloo for you too dear. Now try and compose yourself. You really come off as quite ridiculous darling as most of us liberals do doll.

November 05 2013 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

H-m-m! Let's see who all these "lazy" folks are (most recent available data). About 50% of the recipients are children (darned child labor laws). Seventy-six percent of households receiving benefits have children, 16% goes to households with disabled persons; 9% to households with senior citizens. The average household received about $290/month. About 67% of eligible persons actually participate in the program and household participation is limited to six months before requiring reapplication. About 40% of SNAP recipients live in a household with at least one wage earner. Participation is limited to those who are at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. The poverty level is currently defined as $11,490/year for a single individual, $15,510 for couples, and $23,550 for a family of four. About 1% of benefits are sold for cash. The program has a 96.19% payment accuracy rate. Included in the program are about 1 million disaster relief recipients. The Department of Agriculture's share of the Federal budget is about 4% and the nutritional assistance part of it is less than 50% (meaning that more than half goes to those who produce the food that SNAP recipients eat).

November 01 2013 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to drbobdez's comment

Now let's combine this with the adundance of state programs.

November 01 2013 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to willypfistergash's comment

And I'm OK with SNAP being a seperate bill/funding from SNAP. It helps take the political bullshlt out of it.

November 01 2013 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wake, poor and broke,
Take bus, go see employment folk.
Nice man treat me good in there,
He say I need to see welfare.

Welfare say, "You come here no more,
We send cash straight to your door."
Now welfare checks, they make me wealthy,
And Medicaid it keep me healthy!

By and by, I got plenty money,
Thanks to you, American dummy.

October 31 2013 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh my, poor Somey what is he going to do without his food stamps. Perhaps if we could find him a job. That way he can finally put his hands back in his own pockets instead of having his hands in everyone else's, darlings. How unfortunate for him

October 31 2013 at 4:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The problems here guys is that somey has the left-leaning uber-liberal ideology to deeply ingrained in him, like most dems, that he can't seem to look up and see the reality that is right before his eyes. Do we need to get rid of food stamps completely?? No, that is not realistic, but neither is bankrupting our country over it.

October 31 2013 at 2:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

My screen name is gonna get smoked for that one. Ciao.

October 31 2013 at 2:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply