USDA program provides food and nutrition assistance to millions of Americans. Photo from USDA website.
September 19, 2013 - The US House of Representatives voted today to cut over thirty nine million dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - formerly known as the food stamp program. An email from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth reported hopefully that Congressman Ed Whitfield to be leaning toward voting against the cut.
In the end, Whitfield leaned back to the right and joined the rest of the Kentucky Republican delegation in Washington in voting for the House version of the bill.
Jason Bailey, Executor Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy released the following statement:
“Congressmen Barr, Rogers, Guthrie, Whitfield and Massie did not stand with Kentuckians today in their vote to wipe out critical food assistance for working families, seniors, veterans and even children. This vote sends a devastating message that our poorest and most vulnerable citizens will pay a price that no American family should have to experience: hunger.
These Congressmen voted in favor of a controversial, extreme and stunningly harsh measure that cuts a staggering $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—formerly known as food stamps. The cuts are twice the amount originally proposed by the House earlier this year and ten times more than those adopted by a strong bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate.
If the legislation becomes law, it will take away food assistance for as many as four million poor Americans, including 88,000 Kentuckians. Independent budget analysts have confirmed the proposal is so extreme it would eliminate food assistance for children, seniors and veterans.
876,000 Kentuckians, twenty percent of the state’s population, rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to put food on their tables. At a cost of only $1.42 per meal in Kentucky, it is one of the nation’s most efficient services for the poor.
And it remains critically important at this time, as new federal data show that Kentucky’s poverty rate remains high four years after the end of the recession, while one out of six Kentucky households struggle against hunger. SNAP is a critical lifeline to those who are poor, and one of the most effective economic recovery programs we have.
Representative Yarmuth and 209 other members of the House should be applauded for resisting this harmful bill. Their dissension is important as the bill goes to conference committee."
Fulton County activist Gene Nettles also commented on the vote. In print, Nettles' comment looked something like this: "@#F%^!*:((!!!"
From the USDA.gov website: "SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity."