Last week, the US House of Representatives voted to push through a bill that will cut the food stamp program by almost $40 billion over the next 10 years, and sets up what will certainly be a heated clash in the Senate.
The vote was largely along party lines and you can see how your Representative voted here.
According to the most recent federal data, about 47.6 million people (nearly 15 percent of the population) are enrolled in the food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Six years ago, only 26.3 million people (8.7 percent of the population), were enrolled in SNAP, which costs nearly $80 billion a year.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the bill will force roughly 14 million from the program by 2023.
The bill is designed to tighten rules for SNAP eligibility by among other things, disallowing people enrolled in other social welfare programs from automatically becoming eligible for SNAP; requiring drug testing for food stamp recipients; and requiring those between the ages of 18 and 50 to enroll in a work-training program of find a job in order to receive food stamps.
Critics, though, say the cuts would fall disproportionately on children and seniors. Following the vote, The Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB), which through its network helps almost 59,000 people receive emergency food each week, issued a statement that included the following:
“Those that championed these cuts presented them as a way to help put people back to work, but this assertion rings false. While the unemployment rate in Georgia is still 8.7% and almost 1 million more people are living in poverty in Georgia than in 2000, the largest number of Georgians receiving food stamps are children, seniors and those who have jobs, but still can’t make ends meet."
You can learn more from the ACFB advocacy page here.