Food Stamp Program Faces Congressional Double Whammy

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Andrew Burton / Getty Images

A woman and her daughter counts out food stamps while shoping for groceries in the GrowNYC Greenmarket on September 18, 2013.

Just as Congress sits down in a new bipartisan conference committee to the hard work of funding the future of the food stamp program, benefits are set to drop Friday as stimulus spending dating from the 2009 recession expires. The cut of $5 billion for fiscal year 2014 equals 21 fewer meals a month for a family of four, or 16 fewer meals for a family of three, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In Candler, North Carolina, a 58-year-old unemployed, widowed grandmother named Vicki, who is taking care of her daughter and three grandchildren, says she has little to get by but child support and the $526 a month she receives in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which administers food stamps. “It’s tough as it is,” she said, on the condition that she not be identified by her full name. “It’s going to make it harder.”

The Department of Agriculture calls SNAP the “cornerstone of the nation’s programs for reducing food insecurity and hunger.” Over 47 million Americans participate in SNAP, around an 80% increase from 2007. Despite the escalating costs—from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion in 2012—food banks desperately want the federal government to continue the higher rate of benefits. The typical family gets $278 a month, and benefits are means-tested. “Even though the recession is officially over, I have yet to talk to a food bank who has said that their need has slackened or gone down,” says Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, a network of more than 200 food banks. “The last thing on Earth we need is to make it harder for very low-income people to access enough food to feed themselves and their families.”

The decline in benefits is unlikely to be reversed anytime soon. In fact, Congress is preparing to impost further cuts in the coming years.

On Capitol Hill Wednesday, the House and Senate had their first Farm Bill conference meeting to try and enact a new 5-year plan for agricultural policy and SNAP. The agriculture industry, estimated to serve some 16 million jobs, has relied upon temporary provisions since 2012. SNAP funding, which is nearly 80% of all spending in the Farm Bill, has remained the thorn in the side of farmers. Republican House leaders have requested an additional $40 billion in cuts over 10 years, while a bipartisan Senate plan passed this summer requested about $4 billion. The new $5 billion in SNAP savings could help House Republicans lower their ask —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the chairman on the House subcommittee directing food stamps, said he was “interested and encouraged” by the savings Wednesday. The conference overall stirred optimism.

“I could not be more pleased to be at this point in the process,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R- Okla.), who has been undermined in his efforts this year by House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The return to regular order will allow the committee chiefs—Lucas, House ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Senate ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)—to reassert their control.

The economic recovery is also expected to further taper benefits under SNAP, as family income grows. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2023, the number of those who participate in SNAP will decline by 14 million.

217 comments
WesGosnell
WesGosnell

Foodstamp:  the Cornerstone for the 100% inept and stupid.  If you can't feed yourself, you don't deserve to have kids.

I'm for a new law:   Anyone on foodstamps has to be mandatorally sterilized and is no longer allowed to vote and must take a drug test to receive......

Of course all the "life's not fair" p*ssies you call "liberals" would probably have a problem with that too...

zeeemteam
zeeemteam

why dont these people learn to coupon and stretch the food stamps especially those who arent working. I worfulltime and have saved usands by doing so last couple years.

Wes_Daily
Wes_Daily

For those of us who are not challenged with hunger, what can we do on a community level to help food stamp recipients?? I'm really concerned for these families and I would like to help somehow. Besides helping at a local food bank, what more can we do? I need someone to point me in the right direction.


drudown
drudown

Sorry, the "new" GOP just wants to subvert our precedent at every turn to WEAKEN AMERICA. Sorry, merely citing "ideology" doesn't provide the legal justification to subvert the plain meaning of the Constitution, nor would sanctioning the overreach in the Congress do anything but further WEAKEN our Nation.

By way of example, the entire GOP is ruled by two primary mantras that are inextricably linked: "deregulation" [directly weakening the State] and "no new taxes, ever" [indirectly weakening the State]. 

And, no, the Tea Party's subversion of our government is not, in the end, the purported "hatred for President Obama" any more than the NSA's activities were even actually directed at the OPEC states funding terrorism. Why is that not troubling to the GOP pundits and "paid for" media? I was so overjoyed to see an actual journalist on CNN holding Ann Coulter accountable on live TV for Sen. Ted Cruz expressly alleging our Commander in Chief "go back to Kenya". This is Sedition as much as the NSA's activities "could have" (but obviously could never really) "upset Diplomatic Unity" with our trusted EU and Russian Allies warrants remedial action to restore faith in government. 

Sorry, the FACT the GOP simply REFUSES to renew the SNAP/Food Stamps program by RAISING TAXES FOR THE GENERAL WELFARE as the EXPRESS LANGUAGE OF THE CONSTITUTION requires…is just more hard evidence that the GOP conspires to derail Democracy. 

What "good is it" along with our Bill of Rights and Appointment Power" if subverted with the Filibuster with such lawless impunity?

State Action must be both LAWFUL and ALWAYS advance a LEGITIMATE STATE INTEREST based on LEGAL PRECEDENT.

Instead of our Commander in Chief going on a deserved Safari in the Masai Mara, why don't you Tea Party Traitors dump these treasonous notions of "default", "shutting down the government" and Despotically "abolishing" the Treasury and IRS into the imaginary water?

"I never dared to be radical when young/

For fear it would make me conservative when old." - Robert Frost

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

The House demands that $40 billion come out over 10 years.  The Senate says no.  If they want $40 billion out, cut it from the subsidy program for farmers since almost none are small farmers and most are agri-businesses just "farming the government".  Don't touch conservation, education (Extension) or Research.  Take it from the corporate business pile, excusing cooperatives like Ocean Spray and some other grower marketing cooperatives.

lorirobkow
lorirobkow

I would like to be a fly on the wall and watch a single, unmarried politician live on $20.00 a month food stamps with an income of less than $900.00 per month. I realize that the food stamp program needs major changes, if a person gets food stamps they should have to submit a urine test for drugs, Real food, meat, vegetables, etc. should be bought instead of junk food (pop, candy, etc.). Our political system is going down the drain and the people that truly need food stamps to survive are going to eliminated by starvation.

PatreaLynn
PatreaLynn

all i can  say is it will be interesting to see what happens to all of those greedy rich people in money and lacking in heart when they need food. there will be riots and i hope the ones doing the cutting will  feel the pain they will be causing all of the people they hurt. you reap as you sow. 

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

174 comments? How many were posted during a work day complaining about how other people are lazy?


ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Well, the action by the US House certainly confirms that we are far from being a "Christian" nation and you take that American Exceptionalism and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.  The closest they appear to be anything in the Bible with actions like this are the Pharisees who stood on the street corners proclaiming how "religious" they were.  With this "Christian attitude", I'll take a non-believer who cares about people over them every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

CelsaMacdonald
CelsaMacdonald

Much can be done to clean up the SNAP and other Federal assistance program.  HOWEVER, when the government needs to save money, why take it from the needy among it?  Why not cancel some of the many "pork" projects our "diligent" politicians have arranged for their cronies at home.  Make it criminal to appropriate funding for things like major roads in Texas where no one uses them; or airport runways where there are no aircraft using them; roads and bridges to nowhere.  How about eliminating foreign aid to corrupt and/or militant countries? Why do we pay Congress when they refuse to take action on critical issues? 

First step to cure the SNAP and Federal assistance program might be to make CITIZENSHIP a requirement to receive it.  Maybe illegal immigrants would stay home or go elsewhere if we did not make it so desirable to come here. 

PulSamsaraXi
PulSamsaraXi

Too many hungry ?   Stop 'importing' womb bombs of poverty.

PulSamsaraXi
PulSamsaraXi

(AP) New York

Welfare slashed !

GOYA stocks tumble !

MadisenKleinschmit
MadisenKleinschmit

if they are trying to evoke sympathy, perhaps they should show families NOT buying bottled water and tiny plastic drinks for their children.


GaMan
GaMan

I know Food Stamps is a Controversial Subject.....I Also Know That There Are Elderly And Sick People Who Need And Depend On Food Stamps...Republicans Could Really Care Less...We Need To Vote These People Out Of Office...Everybody Needs To Vote......

SaraJames1
SaraJames1

The President is doing everything in his power to help the poor and unemployed people of the United States and the Republican Congress is doing everything their their power to make them homeless and hungry. This will create more crime and possible killings because people will be forced to rob in order to eat rather then starve.

RobinThomas
RobinThomas

Ok-- lets just talk brass tax here. A family of four spends $500.00 a month on food, which is 125.00 a week. That works out to be about 16.67 a day for food total, for 30 days. Now lets break that down-- 3 meals a day=5.55 per meal. Per person that is 1.38 per meal. And we as a nation, begrudge them the 1.38 per meal. How well could anyone be eating at 1.38  per meal but we should give them LESS food stamps? And how much do you think you can buy for 5.55 per meal.This is unbelievable that anyone would believe that food stamps should be cut.

dawndawn
dawndawn

@WesGosnell You are beyond ignorant to say the least. Though there are those that abuse the program,  in these days and times the  majority of people on the program are people that have been out of work or laid off ect. These are not most times uneducated or even lazy people. I think people with your ignorant mentality should be sterilized. I certainly hope you haven't reproduced or if so that your children are not as ignorant as YOU are. People like YOU always end up getting your karma so watch out. Oh and I am not by any means a liberal before your start spewing your ignorance. I wonder why you would even bring yourself to be on such a post? You are a waste of air! Careful what you wish for on people because it does have a way of coming back on you. LOL probably with your wonderful parenting you will see the most of your ignorance fool.

dawndawn
dawndawn

@zeeemteam Helllllllllllllllllllllllllo many do. There is nothing worse than a comment where the person stating it doesn't have a clue about the topic and is only stating an opinion based on assumptions. Also, couponing is not that easy as you should know. What do you suggest those poor people to do? Steal printers and ink, steal all the newspapers out of the rack or how about jumping in garbage? You should know that only a few coupons land in your house in the mail without spending extra money. SMH

EvaS
EvaS

@Wes_Daily  I think it's best to contribute food to food banks. I am only wondering if everyone who needs food is able to find and go to a food bank in their area. Poor people may not have a working car, either...

KevinRoberts
KevinRoberts

@lorirobkow I say drug test everyone that receives any type of government/tax payer funds. Not just the poor. Include CEO's and everyone working for them. I promise, more tax money is spent on drugs by the "Well-to-do" receiving government money than any poor person receiving SNAP. 

dawndawn
dawndawn

@Paul,nnto They are on company time doing nothing and guess what... soon their job will be cut and they will be hungry... oh better not need help with food. lol

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

@Paul,nnto Don't forget that some of us actually worked our 50-year career and are retired and for us every day is Saturday and every night is Saturday night!  Of course, most of us are so busy in volunteer activities that we don't know how we found time to work.

PatreaLynn
PatreaLynn

@ARTRaveler amen. like the atheists who wanted the so called Christian group to help them pass out things  to the homeless and the lady in charge of the so called Christians  said she would rather quit her group than work with the atheists . and how Christ like is that?not even. ignorance abounds.

PatreaLynn
PatreaLynn

@MadisenKleinschmit bottled water is safer than out of the tap. and thats not your business to comment on what they buy, MYOB.

AndreaZiggy
AndreaZiggy

@SaraJames1 You are absolutely right! Nobody thinks of the consequences. Instead these ignorant republicans only think about themselves!

dawndawn
dawndawn

@RobinThomas Finally someone with sense here. You are so right, but the people complaining in this feed have never had hard times. I am sure they were born rich or just happen to have a good job that hasn't been cut YET.

pecanisa
pecanisa

@RobinThomas having a family is a personal decision; therefore, it should be privately financed. If you can't afford food, then stop breeding...

PatreaLynn
PatreaLynn

@RobinThomas the so called rich people in this  country  have no hearts  and the more money they have ,the less they care. when  they are the ones getting hungry then and only then will they care. i will be happy i can cook and go to the dollar stores to eat. 

bjb123
bjb123

@RobinThomas - And if government bought the same food you paid $500 for they would get 10 times as much...which could be used to put people to work making healthy meals for people who would benefit from eating food that would not kill them....but I get it....it is just a lot easier to throw money at people who can't contribute and just let them buy their soda and frozen food and wait 10 years until they have a heart attack and die.   It is probably faster to let them die by choking them to death with food than helping to enable them to be productive human beings. 

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@ARTRaveler @Paul,nnto I know, I know. You and Ivy are living the life! 

I just found it ironic, I doubt all the scolders are retirees.  

dawndawn
dawndawn

@pecanisa @RobinThomas Oh boy here we go with another idiot. As you SHOULD know in life things don't always turn out the way you planned them. Seems your parents should have aborted you.

AndreaZiggy
AndreaZiggy

@PatreaLynn @RobinThomas Me too! I have learned to spend my food stamps wisely..... I learned how to be frugal, it is a developed skill. I would love to see these rich politicians feed their family of four filet mignon with food stamps.

dawndawn
dawndawn

@bjb123 @RobinThomas You sound really stupid!!!! Do you eat healthy food all the time? LOL I know you don't. Who died and made you God?

ccopeland48
ccopeland48

@bjb123 @RobinThomas 

What proof have you that people spend more eon snacks and junk than real food? Non. To assume is ignorant. How can you be sure that people who may benefit from the program today never paid taxes? 

RobinThomas
RobinThomas

@bjb123 @RobinThomas   --no that is not what I said --  you are a jerk dont comment on my comments.HOW MUCH SODA R U BUYING FOR 1.38 A MEAL?

AndreaZiggy
AndreaZiggy

@bjb123 @RobinThomas I am a self-employed business owner. I work very hard usually between 16-20 hours a day, 365 days a year in addition to being a caregiver to my developmentally disabled sister, and my daughter. I work hard, I bust my butt. I am eligible for food stamps, and Medicaid based on my self-employment income, and business expenses but I had to fight for over 12 months through 6 separate state hearing appeals, and 2 administrative appeals in order to be found eligible to receive food assistance for my family. I pay 46.41% of my earned income towards taxes. And I had to fight for 12 months in order to receive a tiny bit of assistance that I myself as a taxpayer just like you paid into, and deserve. How dare you spew your hateful, uninformed opinions? You obviously know nothing!

bjb123
bjb123

@RobinThomas @bjb123  - Excuse me but if you don't want people commenting back then don't post - this is a PUBLIC forum.   Look it up...

AndreaZiggy
AndreaZiggy

@bjb123 Your opinion is misled by your ignorance. I am not "taking out my situation on others because I can't fix my own problems". I was pointing out to you how ashamed you should be for voicing your opinions regarding mine or anybody else's circumstances when you know nothing about me, my situation or my circumstances- yet you called me and anyone receiving assistance a "lifeless, breeding couch potato with zero incentive to do anything for themselves or anyone else". I would and have done anything in the world for myself, my family, strangers, and anyone who truly needs anything! So for you to say something so biased is very irritating. To me it sounds like you are mad at an ex who is rich and is abusing the system. Yes there are people who manipulate, and abuse the system but remember there are others who are truly in need. It seems like you have lumped everyone receiving assistance into the manipulating blood suckers category that your ex falls into. Who ever told you that if "you thought you were fighting to help people you are wrong"? Your only wrong when you give up and let others tell you that your wrong! You say "your anger is at the people who hold the poor people down (which is were it should be) or are profiting from treating these people like voter cattle" but you have a very poor ability to express that clearly as you have made me feel like a piece of **** because I receive food stamps. You don't know me, my family, my situation or my circumstances to form that opinion, or make me feel differently than I did when I woke up today. Shame on you for taking your ex and his manipulating behaviors out on deserving taxpayers who NEED a little bit of help, and a lot less hurtful, angry selfish people like you stating your unfactual misleading opinions.

bjb123
bjb123

@AndreaZiggy @bjb123 @RobinThomas  - I am sorry that you are taking out your situation on others because you can't fix your own problems.  First, because of all the rampant fraud in the system (the state of California no longer verifies the welfare claims - they just dole them out- I know because my ex who is rich gets them), the states makes all disability claims go through hoops to prove they should get benefits.   There are agencies who can fast-track the system if you know who they are.   I am also self-employed.  I also take care of a person who sufferers medically.   I do not have a college degree, but I work hard enough to not be a burden to this already overwhelmed system.  I spent years, learning to understand the legal system so that I wouldn't be taken advantage of.   When you fight for something broken just because that is what you have done all your life, it doesn't leave room to find a better solution.   If you think you are fighting to help people you are wrong.  My anger is not at the person who doesn't know they deserve MORE than food stamps.  It is at the people who want to hold poor people down or are profiting from treating these people like voter cattle.