Senate Republican’s proposals cut over $4 billion from food stamps

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In amendments that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed last night to add to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) proposed reforms that Democrats say would end up cutting more than $4 billion from food stamps over the next decade.

Despite agreeing on Monday night to add Sessions’ amendments to what’s otherwise become known as the “farm bill,” Reid also added an amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that looks to restore some of that lost funding. She’s led the charge against Sessions, citing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that claims the proposals would result in average benefits being slashed by up to $90 a month. The average monthly benefit was $133.84 in 2011, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, which means Sessions proposals could leave America’s poor only $43.84 on average to spend on food in a month.

The CBO estimated earlier this year that one in seven Americans receive federal food assistance. The agency said that taxpayers spent $78 billion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2011, making it the second largest social safety net program after Medicare. The government claims that every month, federal food aid keeps more than 5 million Americans from slipping into poverty.

“According to estimates by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, this deep cut in monthly benefits would affect 190,000 low-income New York City families and children who rely on these benefits for their nutrition, and would affect nearly 300,00 households statewide,” she said in an advisory. Gillibrand’s amendment would restore most of the funding by slashing subsidies that big agriculture companies use to buy crop insurance.

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