This month, the House Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill that would cut $20 billion from SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps). If enacted, the cuts would result in 2 million families losing their assistance, and over 200,000 children losing eligibility for the free school lunch program.
These cuts come at a time when the Recovery Act's temporary increase in SNAP benefits is already set to expire in November.
The Senate Agriculture Committee also approved cuts to SNAP in its version of the farm bill, but by only $4.1 billion. Fortunately, neither of these are close to where Paul Ryan wants the cuts – his latest budget reduced SNAP by $135 billion.
Read more after the jump.The bill would make families ineligible for SNAP benefits if they have savings of as low as $2,001 or even if they own modestly-priced cars. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
“A working family with a modest vehicle that has a market value of $5,000 to $10,000 – regardless of how little equity the household may have in the vehicle – could lose all of its SNAP benefits under the House Agriculture Committee bill. Such families often would need to choose between owning a car they may need to get to work and receiving help feeding their children.”
“These cuts will increase hunger in Texas, primarily among households with children, elderly and the disabled,” said Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network. “Already, one-in-five Texas households struggles to afford food, including one-in-four children.” This rate places Texas as one of the most food-insecure states in the nation.
Of the Texas delegation, Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) and Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) supported amendments that would have prevented the cuts, but Rep. Gallego ultimately supported passage of the bill that included the cuts, along with Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) and Michael Conaway (R-Midland).