U.S. House Republicans pass $40 B in food stamp cuts

September 25, 2013

According to The New York Times, House Republicans narrowly pushed through a bill on Sept. 19 that slashes billions of dollars from the food stamp program, over the objections of Democrats and a veto threat from President Obama.

The vote set up what promised to be a major clash with the Senate and dashed hopes for passage this year of a new five-year farm bill. The vote was 217 to 210, largely along party lines. Republican leaders said the bill was needed because the food stamp program, which costs nearly $80 billion a year, had grown out of control. But Democrats called the cuts draconian and said they would plunge millions into poverty.

The bill, written under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. It would also require adults between 18 and 50 without minor children to find a job or to enroll in a work-training program in order to receive benefits. It would also limit the time those recipients could get benefits to three months. Currently, states can extend food stamp benefits past three months for able-bodied people who are working or preparing for work as part of a job-training program.

Critics of the measure said the cuts would fall disproportionately on children. According to the Congressional Budget Office, nearly four million people would be removed from the food stamp program under the House bill starting next year. The budget office said after that, about three million a year would be cut off from the program.

New York Times article