House leaders to vote on Thursday on $4 billion in food stamp cuts
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders are working to line up votes for nearly $4 billion in annual food stamp cuts, but some GOP moderates are questioning if that is too much.
The savings would be achieved by allowing states to put broad new work requirements in place for many food stamp recipients and to test applicants for drugs. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday.
The bill would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults who don't have dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.
Conservatives have said the almost $80 billion-a-year program has become bloated. More than 47 million Americans, or 1 in 7, are on food stamps, and the program's cost has more than doubled in the past five years as the economy has struggled.
But finding a compromise — and the votes — to scale back the feeding program has been difficult. Conservatives have insisted on larger reductions, while Democrats have been united in opposition and moderate Republicans from areas with high food stamp usage have been wary of efforts to slim the program.
“I think the cuts are too drastic and too draconian,” says Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., who represents Staten Island, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy last year. “Those that really need the program will suffer.”
Grimm says he plans to vote against the bill.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, also plans a “no” vote, according to his spokesman, Michael Anderson. He said Young is concerned about the impact the cuts could have on people in his state's poorest, most rural areas.
With some Republicans wavering, the vote could be close. The GOP leaders have been reaching out to moderates to ensure their support while anti-hunger groups have similarly worked to garner opposition.
The food stamp legislation is the House's effort to finish work on a wide-ranging farm bill, which has historically included farm programs and food stamps. The House Agriculture Committee approved a combined bill this year, but it was defeated on the floor in June after conservatives revolted, saying the cuts to food stamps were not high enough. That bill included about $2 billion in reductions annually.
After the farm bill defeat, Republican leaders split the legislation in two and passed a bill in July that included only farm programs. They promised to deal with the food stamp bill later, with deeper cuts.
Republicans have emphasized that the bill targets able-bodied adults who don't have dependents and would allow states to implement work requirements that are similar to the 1996 welfare law that led to a decline in people receiving that government assistance.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Carnegie Mellon expert to school Congress on security
- Tribune-Review poll: Cable news rises as network news falls
- Lawmakers press Veterans Affairs for improved access to rural health care
- EPA ripped for evading request for information
- Maryland’s Senator Mikulski announces retirement
- IRS audits of businesses reach 8-year low
- Clinton portrait refers to Lewinsky scandal, Philadelphia artist says
- Several states in path of wintry blasts
- Los Angeles rookie officer claims shooting victim grabbed his gun
- Supreme Court’s health care law ruling worries 34 states
- Supreme Court justices split on states’ panels to prevent gerrymandering