Today, the House Agriculture Committee approved the final version of the 2012 farm bill, complete with its draconian cuts for families struggling to put food on the table. The proposed bill cuts $35 billion from the federal food and nutrition budget, about $16.5 billion of which come from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — more commonly known as SNAP or food stamps.
The cuts work by eliminating “categorical eligibility,” which provides assistance to families whose assets or income put them slightly above the technical line for SNAP eligibility. Repealing categorical eligibility means that between two and three million Americans will lose access to food stamps and roughly 280,000 children will drop out of their automatic enrollment in the free lunch program at school. So the House bill has anti-hunger advocates up in arms:
“With the economy being in such bad shape, depriving that many people of nutritional assistance is going to have a devastating effect,” said Eric Olsen, [Feeding Hunger]’s senior vice president of government relations and public policy.
One needs simply to look to the story of Dorothy Moon, a stay-at-home mother in Texas whodepends on food stamps to feed her six children while her male partner looks for new work, to understand Olsen’s point. Of course, some in the GOP want to ignore “sob stories” about the plight of people who struggle to put food on the table.
SNAP assistance saved five million American from poverty in 2010 and halved the number of children in poverty in 2011.