*Obtaining suitable resources to put enough food on the table will be harder for the nation’s poor people after President Barack Obama recently signed a bill that will cut $8.7 billion from the federal food stamp program.
The cuts, which are set up to occur over 10 years, were part of a negotiated larger spending bill on American agriculture, according to Rolling Out, which noted that the food stamp program is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Parts of the bill cover items such as crop insurance rates, farm subsidies and other federal programs.
As a result of the bill’s passage, it is estimated that to up to 1 million households may lose $90 in monthly food stamp benefits. Although he has come under heavy fire for signing the bill, Obama praised it as an example o f bipartisan leadership that will create jobs and move the economy forward in growth.
The new bill differs from its original version, which found House Republicans wanting to cut $20.5 to $39 billion out of the food stamp program. The notion didn’t sit well with Obama, who made it clear that he would veto any bill that cut so deeply into the program.
Negotiations surrounding the new bill were not mentioned by Obama at the signing of neither the new bill nor any indication that he was satisfied with the final version of the bill.
“My position has always been that any Farm Bill I sign must include protections for vulnerable Americans, and thanks to the hard work of [Senate Agriculture Committee chair] Debbie Stabenow and others, it does just that,” he said.
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Although credit was given to those with a hand in keeping Americans protected under the new bill, Rolling Out points to greater concern regarding the food stamp program at the state level.
Referencing new eligibility requirement for assistance in Georgia that went into effect last week, the publication illustrated the impact as it reports that the new rules mandate that able-bodied adults without children can collect food stamps for only three months in a three-year period. The exception is if the adults get into a job or training program.
As a result, 5,000 people will lose their food stamp benefits in three metro Atlanta counties, a development whose impact stands to dramatically affect the poor.
“More than 500,000 and as many as 1 million of the nation’s poorest people will be cut off from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) over the course of 2016 … The impact will be felt in the 22 states that must or are choosing to re-impose the time limit in 2016,” according to the center on Budget and Policy Priorities
While supporters of the changes tout the work requirement as a reasonable action, what’s not being taken into account is the high unemployment rate caused by the lack of jobs.
“Very few states that have adopted the work requirement are offering training or jobs to those affected by the new rules,” the publication stated. “This can represent a loss of $150 to $170 per person per month, which will increase economic hardship for recipients.