States and Cuts to SNAP

Cuts to food stamps will only hit Wisconsin, 3 other states, By Mary Clare Jalonick (AP), September 17, 2014, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Cuts to the nation’s food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting Wisconsin and three other states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found. As a result, it’s unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that the GOP had advertised…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Farm bill on verge of passage after a long three years of haggling in Congress, By Ed O’Keefe and Kimberly Kindy, February 3, 2014, Washington Post: “Congress is on the verge of dramatically overhauling federal farm and nutrition policies affecting a broad range of issues, from how food is packaged and sold to how the government helps poor people pay for their groceries. After three years of arduous haggling, the Senate is expected to give final passage Tuesday to a new five-year farm bill that the House passed last week. President Obama is expected to sign it when it gets to his desk. The $956.4 billion package has sailed through Congress in recent days with little opposition, making it a rare bipartisan accomplishment in an otherwise rancorous and unproductive era…”
  • Does slicing $8 billion from food stamps cut to bone or just trim some flab?, By Mark Trumbull, February 4, 2014, Christian Science Monitor: “The farm bill that Congress approved on Tuesday contains a controversial $8 billion cut in the food stamp program that millions of Americans rely on as a defense against hunger. Many Democrats oppose the measure, arguing the cut is too steep and will hurt about 1.7 million of the neediest Americans. Republicans have the opposite concern: Many say the bill doesn’t make large enough cuts to an entitlement program that needs reform after doubling in size since 2007. What’s the reality..?”
  • Congress OKs food stamp cuts in farm bill, By Jake Grovum, February 4, 2014, Stateline: “A long-overdue farm bill will change the way more than a dozen states issue food stamps and cut benefits for as many as 850,000 Americans. The legislation gained final approval from Congress Tuesday. The compromise measure avoids some of the deep cuts proposed by Republicans in the House as the debate over the broader farm bill – which comprises crop insurance spending, farm subsidies and the food stamp program, among other issues – played out. The debate came as enrollment and spending on food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, reached record levels. In the previous fiscal year, the U.S. spent more than $78 billion on the program and enrollment has regularly topped 47 million Americans since the Great Recession…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Farm bill would trim food stamps, shift crop subsidies, By Mary Clare Jalonick (AP), January 29, 2014, Boston Globe: “Farm-state lawmakers are lobbying colleagues member by member, vote by vote as they push for House passage of a massive, five-year bill that would make cuts to food stamps and continue generous subsidies for farmers. There are goodies scattered through the almost 1,000-page bill for members from all regions of the country: a boost in money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest; higher rice and peanut subsidies for Southern farmers; renewal of federal land payments for Western states. There are cuts to the food stamp program — $800 million a year, or around 1 percent — for Republicans who say the program is spending too much money, but they are low enough that some Democrats will support them…”
  • Bill boosts farmers, cuts food stamps, By Jerry Zremski, January 28, 2014, Buffalo News: “A bipartisan Farm Bill that’s soon to be voted on in Congress looks like a boon to farmers of Western New York – at the expense of food stamp recipients in cities like Buffalo. The bill, which House and Senate negotiators completed late Tuesday, provides a new insurance program for growers of ‘specialty crops’ such as the apples from Niagara County’s orchards, while apparently protecting upstate dairy farmers from the worst of the deep cuts in farm support programs. Meanwhile, though, a complex change in the food stamp program could reduce benefits for 300,000 New York households, according to the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • 850,000 may have $90 less in food stamps, By Jennifer Liberto, January 17, 2014, CNNMoney: “A deal on food stamps in Congress could trim as much as $90 a month from 850,000 of the nation’s poorest who seek help to buy groceries. The measure is part of the latest farm bill and aims to cut about $9 billion from food stamps over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Research Service. It’s less than the $39 billion that Republicans had wanted to cut from the program; but double what Democrats had suggested…”
  • Food banks anticipate impact of cuts to food stamps, By Ron Nixon, January 21, 2014, New York Times: “Late last year, staff members at the Capital Area Food Bank here began fielding requests for larger deliveries from the dozens of soup kitchens and food pantries that it supplies as more and more people showed up seeking help. The food bank said it was not unusual to see a surge before Thanksgiving or Christmas. But this time the lines were caused not by the holidays but by a $5 billion cut to the federal food stamp program that took effect in November when a provision in the 2009 stimulus bill expired. Now the food bank, which provided about 45 million pounds of food last year, says it is preparing for even greater demand as Congress prepares to cut billions of dollars more from the food stamp program, which is included in a farm bill that has yet to pass. About 47 million Americans receive food stamps…”

SNAP and Emergency Unemployment Benefits

  • Gridlock in Congress could leave millions hurting over the holidays, By Lisa Mascaro, December 2, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “Congress’ unfinished business threatens to leave millions of Americans — including the unemployed, Pentagon contractors and even supermarket shoppers — in the lurch this holiday season. With partisan dysfunction unlikely to subside in coming weeks, lawmakers appear ready to punt several issues into the new year. But many Americans could start feeling the effects of inaction as early as this month…”
  • Congressional GOP may be willing to let emergency unemployment benefits lapse, By Lori Montgomery, December 3, 2013, Washington Post: “With the jobless rate hovering just over 7 percent, congressional Republicans said Tuesday that they are ready to let emergency unemployment benefits lapse on Dec. 31, immediately cutting off checks to more than a million recipients…”
  • Food stamp cuts, holidays stress food banks, By Jake Grovum, November 26, 2013, Stateline: “Food banks across the country are bracing for what has become an annual occurrence during this season: a spike in demand as millions of Americans struggle to put holiday meals on their tables. For those who help the hungry, 2013 is looking a lot like the years since the recession began—with the added challenge of a $5 billion cut in food stamp benefits, which took effect Nov. 1…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • As cuts to food stamps take effect, more trims to benefits are expected, By Catherine Rampell, October 31, 2013, New York Times: “Starting Friday, millions of Americans receiving food stamps will be required to get by with less government assistance every month, a move that not only will cost them money they use to feed their families but is expected to slightly dampen economic growth as well. Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, popularly referred to as food stamps, reflect the lapse of a temporary increase created by the administration’s stimulus program in 2009…”
  • Food stamp cuts set to kick in Friday as Congress debates billions in further reductions, By Mary Clare Jalonick (AP), November 1, 2013, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune: “More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will see their benefits go down starting Friday, just as Congress has begun negotiations on further cuts to the program. Beginning in November, a temporary benefit from the 2009 economic stimulus that boosts food stamp dollars will no longer be available. According to the Agriculture Department, that means a family of four receiving food stamps will start receiving $36 less a month…”
  • Automatic cut in federal food stamps kicks in today, By Virginia Young, November 1, 2013, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “People living in poverty could find it harder to pay the grocery bill this month. An across-the-board 5.5 percent cut in food stamps takes effect today. Benefits are being scaled back because of the expiration of a temporary boost passed by Congress in 2009 to help people during the recession…”
  • How food stamp cuts affect your state, By Jake Grovum, November 1, 2013, Stateline: “The record number of Americans relying on federal aid to put food on the table will have to make do with less starting today, as a recession-era boost to food stamps officially expires. Benefits are being reduced by about 5 percent beginning Nov. 1 for all of the nearly 47.7 million Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • House passes GOP plan to slash food stamp funding, By Ed O’Keefe and Niraj Chokshi, September 19, 2013, Washington Post: ” The House narrowly approved a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s food-stamp program Thursday that would slash food aid to about 4 million Americans over the next few years and shift a greater burden of taking care of the poor to state governments. The Republican-backed plan, which would cut about $39 billion in funding for food-stamp programs over the next decade, differs sharply from a bipartisan Senate proposal passed in June, and its passage is likely to further strain relations between the two chambers as they prepare to spend the next several weeks battling over a short-term budget deal and raising the federal debt limit…”
  • House Republicans pass deep cuts in food stamps, By Ron Nixon, September 19, 2013, New York Times: “House Republicans narrowly pushed through a bill on Thursday 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…”
  • House passes bill to cut food-stamp spending, By Kristina Peterson, September 19, 2013, Wall Street Journal: “The House on Thursday narrowly passed a bill curtailing spending on food stamps, setting up a battle with the Senate, which backs far smaller cuts. The vote was 217-210. The bill would cut nearly $40 billion over a decade, or about 5% in expected spending, from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs. The Senate has called for a cut of about $4 billion to the programs. About 48 million Americans received food-stamp benefits last year…”
  • House bill would take 3.8 million off food stamps, By Jennifer Liberto, September 19, 2013, CNNMoney: “House Republicans on Thursday passed a controversial bill that would drop 3.8 million people from food stamp rolls next year by making it tougher for some families to qualify. The bill would cut $40 billion from food stamps over the next decade, which would force about 14 million people from the program by 2023, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Anger in the area over cuts to food stamps, By Alfred Lubrano, July 22, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: “For the first time in 40 years, Congress has decided to give subsidies to farmers – many of them rich – while offering nothing to fund the food-stamp program that experts believe keeps poor Americans from starving. The decision last week comes after conservative Republicans in the House blocked a bill that would have slashed $20 billion from the food-stamp budget, saying the cut was too small. The antipoverty community in Philadelphia and throughout the nation is convulsed with anger. It is convinced that it is witnessing a coordinated GOP effort to gut the food-stamp program, considered by some the most important part of the U.S. safety net…”

The Farm Bill and SNAP

  • House approves farm bill, without food stamp program, By Jonathan Weisman and Ron Nixon, July 11, 2013, New York Times: “Republicans muscled a pared-back agriculture bill through the House on Thursday, stripping out the food stamp program to satisfy recalcitrant conservatives but losing what little Democratic support the bill had when it failed last month. It was the first time food stamps had not been a part of the farm bill since 1973. The 216-to-208 vote saved House Republican leaders from an embarrassing reprisal of the unexpected defeat of a broader version of the bill in June, but the future of agriculture policy remains uncertain. The food stamp program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was 80 percent of the original bill’s cost, and it remains the centerpiece of the Senate’s bipartisan farm bill…”
  • As numbers increase, a battle over food stamps, By Sharyn Jackson, July 11, 2013, Des Moines Register: “After long days as a Wal-Mart employee, a nursing student at DMACC and single mother of five, Susanna Harrison spends her nights juggling numbers. After using most of her minimum-wage salary to cover rent and medicine for her kids, she’s left stretching food stamps to feed her children. She looks for sales and chooses items that she knows will last longest. ‘It’s a lot of late nights,’ said Harrison, 31. ‘Between the kids and schoolwork and work and trying to fit in setting down a budget, this is what I have to play with at the grocery store.’ Harrison is one of the more than 400,000 Iowans on food stamps, today known as food assistance, delivered via a debit-card-like system. The federal program distributes close to $75 billion to more than 46 million Americans, half of whom are children…”

The Farm Bill and SNAP

House defeats a farm bill with big food stamp cuts, By Ron Nixon, June 20, 2013, New York Times: “Opposition by Democrats to huge cuts in the food stamp program helped lead to the defeat of the House farm bill on Thursday, raising questions about financing for the nation’s farm and nutrition programs this year. The vote, which was 234 to 195 to defeat it, came a year after House leaders refused to bring the five-year, $940 billion measure to the floor because conservative lawmakers who wanted deeper cuts in the food stamp program would not support it…”

The Farm Bill and SNAP

House passage of new 5-year farm bill could hinge on level of cuts in food stamp program, By Mary Clare Jalonick (AP), June 19, 2013, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “Prospects for House passage of a new farm bill could turn on the level of food stamp cuts as key backers scrambled Wednesday to secure support for the five-year, half-trillion dollar measure. The House planned to begin voting Wednesday on 103 amendments to the bill, including a Democratic proposal to eliminate $2 billion in cuts in the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Assistance Program, or SNAP. The bill also would make it more difficult for some to qualify for food stamps, and would expand some agriculture subsidies and set policy for rural development programs…”

The Farm Bill and SNAP

  • Senate passes farm bill; House vote is less sure, By Ron Nixon, June 10, 2013, New York Times: “The Senate approved a sweeping new farm bill on Monday that will cost nearly $955 billion over the next 10 years, the first step in a renewed attempt at passing legislation that will set the country’s food and agriculture programs and policy. The bill, which finances programs as diverse as crop insurance for farmers, food assistance for low-income families and foreign food aid, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, 66 to 27. The Senate passed a similar bill last year, but the House failed to bring its bill to a vote. The last farm bill that was passed by both chambers, in 2008, was extended until Sept. 30…”
  • Senate OKs farm bill; food stamps cut slightly, By Mary Clare Jalonick (AP), June 11, 2013, Columbus Dispatch: “The Senate yesterday passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that expands government subsidies for crop insurance, rice and peanuts while making small cuts to food stamps. The bill passed on a bipartisan 66-27 vote. The legislation, which costs almost $100 billion annually, also would eliminate subsidies that are paid to farmers whether they farm or not. All told, it would save about $2.4 billion a year on the farm and nutrition programs, including across-the-board cuts that took effect this year…”
  • More rely on food stamps despite economic gains, By William E. Gibson, June 9, 2013, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Despite an improving economy, one in five Florida residents relies on food stamps. And while the number of recipients in South and Central Florida has leveled off in recent months, totals remain at near-record highs. Now, many in Congress want to scale back food-stamp spending, saying the $78-billion-a-year costs are unsustainable. That would cut off benefits — which max out at $526 a month for a family of three — for thousands of low-wage workers whose housing and child-care expenses eat up as much as half their earnings…”

Farm Bill and SNAP

Senate panel passes $500 billion farm bill, By Christopher Doering, May 14, 2013, USA Today: “The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a sweeping new five-year, half-trillion dollar farm bill on Tuesday as lawmakers made another attempt to craft a new agriculture policy after falling short in 2012. The legislation, which included many of the same programs and reforms that were in the farm bills that failed in Congress last year, would slash subsidy payments, expand crop insurance and carry out deep cuts to the country’s popular food stamp program…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Cuts are coming for food stamps if farm bill is passed, though unclear how deep, By Mary Clare Jalonick (AP), May 8, 2013, Washington Post: “The government’s food stamp program, which helps feed 1 in every 7 America, was one of the few programs exempted from this year’s automatic spending cuts. But now it is likely to get trimmed. Unresolved is by how much. The Democratic chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee is only willing to take roughly one-half of 1 percent, or about $400 million annually, off the top as the panel prepares to move a massive farm bill through committee next week. Her Republican counterpart in the House, also preparing to consider a farm bill next week, would give the program a makeover and cut it by five times that amount…”

The Farm Bill and SNAP

  • Farm-state members of Congress returning home empty-handed, can’t campaign on farm bill, Associated Press, September 19, 2012, Washington Post: “Farm-state members of Congress have campaigned for decades on the back of farm bills delivering election-season subsidies and other goodies to rural voters. Not this year. The bill is stalled, primarily because House GOP leaders don’t want a noisy fight over food stamps this close to the election. That poses a particular problem for some Republicans in tight races for the Senate or the House who will go home empty-handed when Congress adjourns this week…”
  • House GOP punts on farm bill, By Alan Silverleib, September 20, 2012, CNN: “House Republican leaders announced Thursday they will not take action on a new farm bill until after the November elections — a sign of sharp internal GOP divisions on a critical political issue for many members of Congress. ‘We will deal with the farm bill after the election,’ said Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. ‘The current situation that we face is we’ve got people who believe there’s not enough reform in the farm bill that came out of (the House Agriculture) committee, (and) we’ve got others who believe that there’s too much reform in the bill that came out of the committee.’ Boehner indicated GOP leaders do not believe they currently have the votes to pass either a short-term extension or a more comprehensive five-year measure…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Republicans blast rise in food stamp rolls, but House leaders stop short of cutting aid, By Bruce Alpert, August 3, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Republican conservatives, including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, and Gov. Bobby Jindal, have criticized the Obama administration for steadily rising food stamp rolls during the past couple of years. But GOP congressional leaders put the kibosh this week on trying to cut the assistance, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, delaying consideration of a new farm bill partly because of disputes about what to do about food stamps. Some conservatives wanted more cuts than the $16 billion over 10 years proposed in the legislation, but Democrats said even the lower amount is too severe when so many Americans are unemployed…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Big jump in food-stamp enrollment drives farm bill debate, By Charles Pope, July 22, 2012, The Oregonian: “The farm bill Congress is struggling to pass is enormous — a $958 billion piece of legislation filling 600 pages that seems nearly as expansive as the horizon-to-horizon mega-farms and ranches it governs. Whether it passes this year depends on the response to two questions that have nothing to do with agriculture and affect everyone in the country: Who should pay to reduce the nation’s $1.2 trillion deficit? And, what is the government’s obligation to help people in need? In addition to crop and conservation programs, the farm bill pays for food stamps, technically the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The recession spurred growth in the program, which now helps 46 million Americans, including one in five in Oregon…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • House Democrats fall short in efforts to block food stamp cuts as lawmakers write farm bill, Associated Press, July 11, 2012, Washington Post: “Democrats fell short in efforts Wednesday to block cuts to the food stamp program as the House Agriculture Committee moved ahead on a half-trillion-dollar bill to fund farm and nutrition programs over the next five years. The program that helps feed 46 million people at a cost of near $80 billion a year was the dominant issue as committee members tried to advance one of the larger and more expensive bills that Congress is taking up this year. Democrats insisted that any cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would result in people going hungry. Republicans said they were merely trying to bring efficiency to a program to ensure that anyone who is qualified for food benefits will receive them…”
  • Number of Georgians on food stamps balloons, By Daniel Malloy and Katie Leslie, July 7, 2012, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Nearly one in five Georgians now gets federal assistance to put dinner on the table. As Congress debates the future of the food stamp program, with Republicans looking to cut it back, the number of recipients in Georgia has ballooned to 1.9 million as of April, or nearly 20 percent of the population. The state’s 0.4 percent increase from March was the seventh largest growth rate in the country, making Georgia one of 13 states where the number of beneficiaries rose, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Republicans Want Food Stamps Cut In Big Farm Bill, By The Associated Press, June 18, 2012, NPR: “The 1,000-page “farm bill” being debated in the Senate is somewhat of a misnomer. Four of every five dollars in it — roughly $80 billion a year — goes for grocery bills for one of every seven Americans through food stamps. Republicans say Congress could cut the cost $2 billion a year by just closing a pair of loopholes that some states use to award benefits to people who otherwise might not qualify. “This is more than just a financial issue. It is a moral issue,” says Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., one of several Republicans pushing for cuts in spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP. The program has swelled from 28 million to 46 million participants and its costs have doubled in the past four years. The recession and slow recovery have increased the number of people unemployed over the same period from 8 million to 12 million. . .”