The House has approved $40 billion in cuts to food stamps over the next 10 years, ignoring veto threats from President Barack Obama and sending the bill to the Senate where it likely won’t pass.
The bill slipped past with a 217-210 vote, despite strong Democratic opposition. Republicans pushed to control spending of the $80 billion food stamp program through measures that would strengthen work requirements, require drug testing, and limit automatic eligibility when individuals enrolled in other welfare programs.
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“This bill eliminates loopholes, ensures work requirements, and puts us on a fiscally responsible path,” Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman told The New York Times
. “In the real world, we measure success by results. It’s time for Washington to measure success by how many families are lifted out of poverty and helped back on their feet, not by how much Washington bureaucrats spend year after year.”
Democratic opponents called the bill “heartless” as they fought its passage. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Bloomberg News
the House should have focused on a bill that passed the Senate that saves $23 billion over 10 years and cuts $4 billion from food stamps “without forcing needy children to skip meals.”
Now comes the challenge of blending the two bills, one of which also deals with farm subsidies.
The Senate’s Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow told Bloomberg the passage of the House’s food-stamp cuts will make it more difficult for the two legislative bodies to find agreement on a farm and food bill.
The bill passed just after the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty study showed that in 2012, 15 percent of the nation’s households live in poverty, which means 46.5 million people live at or below the poverty level.
In comparison, in 2007, when the economy began to tank, the poverty rate was 12.5.
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