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Food Stamp Cuts Hurt Children, Vets, Working Poor


The holiday season is upon us. But for many American workers on the fringe of making ends meet, Congress’ proposed heartless slashing of food stamp benefits will put a major crimp in their efforts to just provide everyday basics.

Already, some 48 million people were hit by a $5 billion cut in food stamps last month, resulting in a $36 per month reduction in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) for a family of four. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. House Republicans are looking to reduce an additional $40 billion from the program, which would kick 4 million Americans off the program’s rolls next year.

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report notes that among SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than half work, and more than 80 percent work in the year before or after receiving program benefits. It also explains why such a major cut would a disaster for working families nationwide.

“SNAP is one of our most effective tools to keep families and individuals out of poverty,” the document states. “The program has helped low-income families and individuals weather tough times during the recent Great Recession and has lifted millions out of poverty. In 2012, SNAP kept nearly 5 million people, including 2.2 million children, above the poverty line.”

Food stamps reduced child poverty by three percent last year, the largest impact any safety net program made on child poverty last year outside refundable tax credits. The program also provides assistance to nearly one million veterans each month.

The problem could be exacerbated further if Congress doesn’t approve the Farm Bill, which contains funding for SNAP, by the end of this year. Subsidies for dairy products would end if a resolution is not met, and would push milk prices towards $7 a gallon.

If Congress is looking for something to cut, here’s an idea – look at corporation handouts to companies raking in record profits. The federal government spends 50% more on corporate welfare than it does on food stamps and housing assistance. Lawmakers shouldn’t expect hard-working Americans to carry the load. It’s time for them to ask their corporate benefactors to shoulder their fair share.