Tags: house | farm | bill | food | stamps

Report: GOP Food Stamp Cuts Could Deny Benefits to 6 Million

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 12:39 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The final details of a House GOP proposal to cut food stamps by $40 billion over the next ten years have not yet been made public, but a liberal Washington, D.C. think tank has predicted it would cut benefits for as many as 6 million Americans at a time when the economy is still lagging.

Republicans have reportedly said their plan will combine stricter eligibility standards with new work requirements, which would reduce expenditures on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by twice as much as the original House farm bill that failed to pass the lower chamber in June.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in a report published Monday that the information Republicans "have made available makes clear that the proposal will be very harsh, denying SNAP to at least four million to six million low-income people."

The report added that the cuts would affect the nation's poorest adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages."

The new GOP proposal reportedly would prevent states from waiving work requirements for able-bodied adults without children. They would have to either work 20 hours a week or take part in "work activities" that could include training or volunteering.

"The House will consider common-sense measures, such as work requirements and job training requirements for able-bodied adults without children receiving assistance, that enjoy broad public support," Doug Heye, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told the Huffington Post Monday.

The center's report, however, said that "in reality" the Republican plan "would terminate basic food assistance to people who would take any job or job training opportunity offered, but cannot find one."

The report added that the proposal is missing a crucial element because it "doesn't require states to provide jobs or job training and includes no added funds for these activities."

The percentage of the 47 million Americans receiving SNAP benefits every month who are childless, able-bodied adults increased to 9.7 percent in 2010 from 6.6 percent in 2007, or roughly 4 million people.

The center said the proposal does not account for the nation's continuing weak economy and high unemployment.

"The proposed cuts, which would be on top of a substantial across-the-board benefit reduction for all SNAP households scheduled to take effect in November, would come at a time when the economy continues to struggle to offer jobs for all who want to work," the center's report said.

"The economy is creating only 150,000 to 200,000 jobs a month, not much more than needed just to keep up with population growth. Moreover, the percentage of adults with jobs has barely risen since the bottom of the recession."

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