As I write this, we are less than 3 days away from dramatic spending cuts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly 48 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits, and every one of them will see a decrease in monthly benefits beginning November 1st.
Dottie Rosenbaum, writing for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ (CBPP) Off the Charts blog, puts the real life cost into perspective.
A household of three, such as a mother with two children, will lose $29 a month — a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014…That equals about 16 meals a month for a family of three based on the cost of U.S. Agriculture Department’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”
Of course, the potential for further cuts does not end at the first of November. The much debated Farm Bill is still being considered (more…)
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In May I wrote about upcoming cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and said it was anyone’s guess where a compromise would leave the program. Now August is here, Congress is in recess, and still nothing has been done to stave off cuts scheduled for November; cuts that will lead to a decrease in benefits for nearly 652,000 Oklahomans.
Further cuts still seem inevitable. For the first time since 1973, the House of Representatives approved a version of the Farm Bill without including provisions for SNAP benefits at all. Since then, reports say the House has begun working on a plan to propose cutting $40 Billion from SNAP. This effectively doubles the cuts they proposed in their failed attempt to pass a Farm Bill in June.
Still, the Senate has yet to act on the House’s version of the Farm Bill, so the fight is not over. However, the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) is justifiably alarmed by recent developments, seeing them as an “assault on SNAP.” Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, issued a statement on the subject last Friday calling the new proposal “stunningly harsh.” And while the policy debate on further cuts goes on in Washington, the current Farm Bill is set to expire in September.
The future of SNAP is unknown, but the history of the program is not. And to fully appreciate why SNAP is a vital part of the government’s safety net, it is important to look at this issue from a historical and scientific perspective. Why do we have food programs, including SNAP, in the first place? Why are these programs still needed today? (more…)
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In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided a much needed increase in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. However, that temporary increase in benefits will expire in November. This upcoming loss of funding has some people worried, especially since Congress is currently considering further cuts.
SNAP remains a rather popular and effective program. According to a new poll by the Food Research and Action Center, 70% of voters are opposed to cutting SNAP benefits in order to reduce spending. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recently posted a series of Facts on SNAP, and their analysis shows:
- SNAP provides a modest benefit to families with very low incomes, with two-thirds of recipients being elderly, disabled or children. (In Oklahoma, the CBPP reports that 75% of SNAP families include children and 26% are families with elderly or disabled members.)
- SNAP families are largely working families, and of the households with able bodied adults, 58% are working when they receive SNAP and 82% work within a year of receiving SNAP.
- SNAP is also efficient, with the rate of error and overpayment at an all-time low.
- The size of the SNAP program is designed to grow and shrink based on the rate of poverty and unemployment, and because of this design it quickly responded to the needs of low-income families during the recession.
Cuts in funding due to the expiration of the Recovery Act alone will mean that the nearly 17% of Oklahomans, or approximately 652,000 people, who currently receive SNAP assistance (more…)
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