I’ve found a wealth of information from people I know, online news sites, and activism/charity organizations about the federal food stamps program (also known as SNAP), and depending on where you get your news, the facts I’ve found may be surprising.
First off, Congress has been in a tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats over what will happen to food stamp funding. As of now, Republicans in the House have voted to cut it so that millions less people will be eligible for it by November. The amount of time you can get it, as well as the amount will both decrease (that is, if you haven’t at that point been completely bumped off the program), potentially leaving many millions more people hungry than there are already are in a country that is the most powerful on the world.
The process isn’t complete yet, so the cuts aren’t going to happen until Congress finishes voting on it in the Senate. I think what happens at this point is that the Senate has to vote the same way as the House in order for the cuts to be final. I’ve read that it is unlikely that the Senate will vote the same way since no Democrats voted to reduce food stamp funding in the House, just the Repubs (figures!!). Since, as far I know (correct me if I’m wrong, please) the Dems have the majority in the Senate, the cuts won’t happen, or at least they won’t be as extreme. I’m hoping, though, that NO cuts are made.
Here is some more info I’ve found. If you disagree with what I’m saying, all you have to do is check my sources. As a journalism student, I’ve been trained to always provide sources for my articles. Commentors who are ideologically opposed to what I write cannot claim that I’m just making stuff up!
From Slate.com, which has been covering the food stamp funding issue admirably:
[On Sept. 19, 2013], Republicans in the House of Representatives finally got their ducks in a row and voted to cut $40 billion from SNAP, the program that gives food assistance to poor people.
But what’s particularly egregious about this bill is that the poor-kicking aspect of it isn’t just part of a general austerity regime. SNAP benefits are normally funded alongside farm subsidies as part of a consolidated “farm bill.” And, low and behold, Republicans managed to find plenty of room in the budget to funnel money at farm owners. Spending is being cut only on the poor.
Despite SNAP’s efficiency and effectiveness, SNAP benefits are already set to be cut in November 2013, when the temporary benefit boost passed in 2009 ends.
For a family of three, the cut likely will be $240 to $300 per year, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates (see the graphic for details). This cuts comes at a time when, for millions of Americans, the Great Recession is far from over.
A chart about who gets food stamps (sparkaction.org):