House Votes to Cut $4B a Year From Food Stamps

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has voted to cut nearly $4 billion a year from food stamps, a 5 percent reduction to the nation’s main feeding program used by more than 1 in 7 Americans.

    The 217-210 vote was a win for conservatives after Democrats united in opposition and some GOP moderates said the cut was too high. Fifteen Republicans voted against the measure.

    The bill’s 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 bill also would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.

    House conservatives, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., have said the almost $80 billion-a-year program has become bloated. More than 47 million Americans are now on food stamps, and the program’s cost more than doubled in the last five years as the economy struggled through the Great Recession. Democrats said the rise in the rolls during tough economic times showed the program was doing its job.

    Finding a compromise — and the votes — to scale back the feeding program has been difficult. The conservatives have insisted on larger cuts, Democrats opposed any cuts and some moderate Republicans from areas with high food stamp usage have been wary of efforts to slim the program. The White House has threatened to veto the bill.

    House leaders were still shoring up votes on the bill just hours before the vote. To make their case, the Republican leaders emphasized that the bill targets able-bodied adults who don’t have dependents. And they say the broader work requirements in the bill are similar to the 1996 welfare law that led to a decline in people receiving that government assistance.

    “This bill is designed to give people a hand when they need it most,” Cantor said on the floor just before the bill passed. “And most people don’t choose to be on food stamps. Most people want a job … They want what we want.”

    The new work requirements proposed in the bill would allow states to require 20 hours of work activities per week from any able-bodied adult with a child over age 1 if that person has child care available. The requirements would be applicable to all parents whose children are over age 6 and attending school.

    The legislation is the House’s effort to finish work on a wide-ranging farm bill, which has historically included both farm programs and food stamps. The House Agriculture Committee approved a combined bill earlier this year, but it was defeated on the floor in June after conservatives revolted, saying the cuts to food stamps weren’t high enough. That bill included around $2 billion in cuts 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 the food stamp bill would come later, with deeper cuts.

    In order to negotiate the bill with the Senate, Republicans said Thursday that one more step is needed — the House will have to hold a procedural vote to allow both the farm and food stamp bills to go to a House-Senate conference together. It is unclear whether Republicans who pushed to split the two bills will oppose that effort.

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    6 thoughts on “House Votes to Cut $4B a Year From Food Stamps

    1. “Damn! How the hell do they expect me to be able to pay for my weave without food stamps to sell? I swear. People just don’t care about the little people any more”. No matter how flat the pancake, there are always two sides to every story.

    2. I guess this is “change we can believe in” democrats should oppose changes to
      Food stamp programs after all it’s there policy’s that have put record numbers on the
      Government dole ….what’s that? Bush’s fault Ha!! no no that train has left the station
      Like a drug dealer to an addict Dem’s are expanding the number of Gov dependents
      When the number gets to 60,70,80 % who will be left to pay the taxes

    3. When I first got out of the military, I was hired by a huge retail grocery chain as an undercover store detective. A few days into the job I saw a woman steal a package of hot dogs and a loaf of bread. I caught her, but I didnt ( I just couldnt arrest her) After speaking with her, and seeing what condition she was in, I soon realized this was a mother who was as desperate as it comes to finding some food for her kids. Now, dont get this twisted, I am in no way, shape or form condiing stealing. However, I could clealry see the situation. My supervisor was mad at me ’cause I didnt call the cops on her. Needless to say, I quit that job. (found something better by the way) I realized I didnt have the stomach for locking up people behind a loaf of bread. Right ow wrong, I just couldnt do it. Sad to say, but I feel there is going to be more of this. In my opinion, a slice of revelation is being born!

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