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House Bill Snips SNAP

Jennifer Chait, flickr

47 million Americans are enrolled in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or "food stamps."  Thursday, the GOP-led House passed a bill to cut spending for food stamps by $39 billion over 10 years. 

The defeat of the 2013 Farm Bill in the House back in June came as a wakeup call to some as cuts to SNAP became a major hurdle to progress in getting Congress to bolster farm and food programs.

In July, the House approved a measure dropping nutrition programs from the farm bill. No Democrats voted in favor of the revised House bill.

House Republicans on Capitol Hill view Thursday's vote to reform the nation's food stamp program via the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act as an opportunity to "put the brakes" on SNAP.

The tally was 217 to 210. Hunger Action of New York State Executive Director Mark Dunlea minces no words in a comment directed toward those who voted "yes."

"The vote by the House to cut $40 billion in SNAP funding is a sad day for America. While we can be heartened by the fact that such cuts will never be approved by the Senate or the President, it is still immoral that in a country as rich as the US so many elected officials are willing to take food away from vulnerable citizens at a time of high unemployment and poverty, especially among children and senior citizens.. Over the last 30 years we have witnessed a radical transfer of wealth and income from average Americans to the very rich. The needs of the many should not be sacrificed to the greed of the few."

New York Representatives Chris Gibson, Michael Grimm, Richard Hanna and Peter King were  among 15 Republicans who voted NO.  No Democrats voted for the measure.

The bill is not expected to make it through the Senate, controlled by Democrats.  If a new farm bill is not passed by September 30th, federal farm policy could revert back to a 1940s-era law that would regulate farming beginning in January.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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