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October 28, 2016
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Food program cut for most vulnerable; Thousands in region impacted

Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, which have replaced food stamps and are used by more than 18,000 people in the Upper Delaware River Valley, now buy less food than before because of an expired federal funding program.
Contributed photo

As noted earlier, some lawmakers from the House and Senate are negotiating the Farm Bill, and the Senate proposal would cut SNAP by $4.5 billion. The proposal put forward by the House contains cuts that go far deeper than that. Their bill would cut $40 billion from SNAP over the next decade, and would deny benefits to about 3.8 million people next year. Many analysts say this difference will be the main obstacle to overcome if Congress is to pass the Farm Bill this year, which might not be possible.

Many see the steep cut proposed by the House as unacceptable. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand led a group of 38 senators urging their colleagues in the Farm Bill conference committee to fight against “harmful cuts” to SNAP. She said, “Families who are living in poverty—hungry children, seniors, troops and veterans who are just trying to figure out how to keep the lights on and put food on the table—did not spend this nation into debt, and we should not be trying to balance the budget on their backs. They deserve better. Millions more won’t be able to put food on the table if draconian cuts to food stamps become law.”

Jamie Dollahite, a professor at Cornell University, and an expert in nutrition education for limited resource audiences, said the cuts that occurred on November 1, “hit those families that are most vulnerable. Approximately half the recipients are children, with one in four of all children in the U.S. receiving benefits. Almost 90% of SNAP households have children, seniors, and/or someone with a disability.”