Congress Moves to Trim Food Stamps

A compromise bill that sets spending for farm aid and nutrition programs passed the House on Jan. 29 with a 1 percent cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the old food stamps program, which helps 1 of every 7 Americans buy groceries. The $800 million cut over the next decade won’t require kicking any current food stamp recipients off the rolls, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Old man buying groceriesThe compromise (which passed with a vote of 251 to 166) left people on both sides of the aisle unhappy. Republicans had proposed a $40 billion cut; Democrats didn’t want any. The Senate is expected to take up the bill later this week.

Some lawmakers voted against the bill because they thought the cuts were too harsh, according to Roll Call.

“Congress has lost its way,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said in a statement. “This conference report is nothing more than Reverse Robin Hood legislation that steals food from the poor in favor of crop subsidies for the rich.”

But Republicans such as Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana weren’t happy with how much was being spent, according to the Associated Press. “It spends money we simply don’t have,” he said.

In a letter to Congress, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand said the organization backs the farm bill compromise, not because it agrees with the food stamp cuts but because the measure is “the best compromise achievable.”

Rand said the aid for a typical family amounts to only about $4 per meal, so the cut “exacerbates an already perilous food situation for these families.”

“The recent economic recession, the worst since the Great Depression, demonstrated the importance of the farm bill nutrition programs in providing food assistance for families that would have otherwise gone without food,” Rand said.

Photo: danilovi/istockphoto

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