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Farm Bill Doesn’t Even Cut Food Stamps By .8%

From the Washington Post:

Farm bill talks nearing conclusion, with little concern for food stamp cuts

By Ed O’Keefe, Published: January 8, 2014

Negotiations are almost complete on a long-overdue farm bill that will set new spending levels for the federal food stamp program and add yet another wrinkle to the national debate over income inequality as Congress mulls how to help unemployed and low-wage workers…

Plans call for eliminating about $9 billion in funding for food stamps — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — over the next decade, according to several aides familiar with the negotiations who are not authorized to speak publicly about the details.

Notice how we aren’t told how much the SNAP budget is. It’s currently around $80 billion a year. So $9 billion in cuts spread over the next ten years is literally chicken feed. (And, as the article explains in the following paragraphs, there really aren’t any cuts, after all.)

The cuts are a compromise between a proposed $4 billion reduction approved by the Democratic-led Senate in June and nearly $40 billion in cuts approved by the GOP-controlled House as Republicans sought to overhaul eligibility requirements for SNAP.

Aides said House and Senate lawmakers sought cuts to SNAP by focusing on what they call the “heat-and-eat” loophole.

In more than a dozen states and the District, the level of assistance provided to some SNAP beneficiaries is tied to eligibility for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Such payments are usually made to apartment dwellers whose utility costs are included in monthly rent payments. In order to keep such low-income residents from choosing in winter months between paying a heating bill or buying groceries, the states provide minimal LIHEAP payments, often as low as $1, making them eligible for higher SNAP payments.

The negotiated farm bill would tweak the program by requiring states to pay at least $20 in heating assistance to eligible households. The change would reduce, but not eliminate, SNAP payments based on heat-and-eat eligibility and save nearly $9 billion, aides said.

The changes would affect at least 800,000 households, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office — a number small enough, aides said, that both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans might support the compromise…

In other words, a dozen states and DC currently give people food stamps just to allow them to qualify for heating assistance. Even people who live in apartments and who don’t pay for their own heat. This bill would end that payment, which would save the federal government $9 billion over ten years.

But the states will be mandated to cover anyone who still actually needs this heating assistance. So, in reality, nothing is being cut. Least of all food stamps.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 10th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Farm Bill Doesn’t Even Cut Food Stamps By .8%”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    I get free stuff from God all the time.

    Life, Liberty, Love, Relationship, Salvation, the angels who stand around our home jealously guarding what is His … why would I want the Government?

  2. Enthalpy says:

    An expanding dependency is immoral and sinful. If you are the recipient, it’s enslavement.

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