Share This Page

House OKs $39B cut in food stamps without any Dem support

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

WASHINGTON — House Republican lawmakers voted on Thursday to slash food stamp spending by $39 billion during the next decade, setting up a showdown with Democrats over the popular program used by nearly 48 million low-income Americans.

The House voted 217-210 to cut food stamps by nearly twice the amount that was rejected by the chamber in June and far more than a Senate measure passed earlier this year that would trim about $4.5 billion. The bill failed to draw the support of a single Democrat, many of whom have said the steep cuts would erode a key safety net depended on by families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work.

This bill “guts nutrition for those most in need and says to the poor, to hungry children, to the disabled, seniors and our veterans, you don't matter,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. “You are not worthy of our help.”

The food stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has been part of the farm bill for four decades and makes up 80 percent of spending in the legislation.

The Republican-crafted bill would cut benefits for able-bodied adults who aren't caring for children to only three months of food stamps during any three-year period unless they worked part time or participated in a job-training program. The bill also would restrict the use of “categorical eligibility,” where state agencies grant food stamp benefits to individuals who qualify for other assistance programs.

Republicans argued the bill would restore the program's original eligibility limits and preserve the safety net for the truly needy.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R.-Va., promoted the legislation as a way to put people on a path to self-sufficiency and independence. He said able-bodied people younger than 50 will not be denied benefits if they sign up for work. “There has been a lot of demagoguery around this bill, and unfortunately a lot of misinformation,” Cantor said.

Democrats have argued that slashing food stamps would leave millions of people who depend on the program hungry.

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.