House Republicans Vote To Cut Billions From Food Stamps Despite Poverty Numbers

September 20, 2013  |  

via @GOPLeader, Eric Cantor’s Twitter page

House Republicans pushed through a bill on Thursday that would cut billions from the nation’s food stamp program, even as families struggle with debt, unemployment, and poverty. The bill passed 217-to-210, despite objections from Democrats and President Obama’s threat to veto the bill.

Written by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the bill will cut $40 billion from the program over the next 10 years and require adults between the ages of 18 and 50 without children to find a job or enroll in a training program to receive benefits, which would only last three months. Lottery winners wouldn’t be able to receive benefits (?) and recipients would have to submit to drug tests. People in social welfare programs wouldn’t automatically qualify for food stamps.

Even with the cuts and additional requirements, the food stamp program is going to cost $700 billion over the next decade.

Recent Census Bureau numbers say food stamps kept four million people out of poverty this past year, and many more were kept from more severe poverty with this aid. Nearly 47 million people live in poverty in this country. And, as we reported this morning, the nation’s poorest are children of color.

Writing about the report, The New York Times notes that, left alone, the number of people receiving food stamps would decline by 14 million people, or 30 percent, because of economic improvements. In the meantime, however, 13.6 percent of Americans received federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits last year, up from 2011. (USA Today also provides other findings from the Census report.)

In comments, House Speaker John Boehner said, “This bill makes getting Americans back to work a priority again for our nation’s welfare programs.” However, as we’ve noted a few times, the jobs that are being created are largely low-wage ones in the retail and fast-food industries. The Economic Policy Institute, in a press release we received, called the cuts “irresponsible” for that very reason.

“Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to think that cutting these benefits will make people more self-sufficient, but today’s economic problem is not that Americans are unwilling to work, it’s that there are not enough jobs. At a time when unemployment is still above 7 percent, Congress should instead be working to deliver a jobs program for Americans, not cutting the few resources going to families that need them most,” the blog post said.

Continuing with the cuts, House Republicans pushed through a spending bill today that cuts all funding for Obamacare with a vote of 230-to-189. According to another story from the Times, this sets up another fiscal fight in Congress. So get ready folks. It’s deja vu all over again.

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  • tracy smith

    People got to eat!

  • Growth

    If they made it so that people earned food stamps. This wouldn’t be a problem. You should not have a Lexus or escalade and be on food stamps. You should not have Jordan’s or an Iphone5s and be on food stamps. If you have no physical or mental disability you should not be on food stamps. If you have a child and want food stamp you should be required to get off your back, get on birth control and at least attempt to look for a job before getting food stamps. These females use this as a career opportunity instead of temporary assistance.smh

    • nolimit_soldier

      What if they were hand me down Jordans or an I Phone someone gave them..just curious

    • PleaseDOBetter

      Comments like yours are fascinating to me. “These females use this as a career opportunity instead of temporary assistance”. Welfare is not a career opportunity, it is a dependency system. It was not designed for people to get off of it and then be further ahead in society. Also, it seems from your example that you are talking about “welfare queens” which is a very small population of those that use (in this case, abuse) the system. Please don’t fall into the media trap.

      It doesn’t make sense that someone who may have been raised in poverty and who is now raising their kids in poverty (for example) would own a Lexus or an Escalade. Also, I’m sure you are aware of the rapidly declining middle class. Some of these people that have what you speak of (Lexuses and other high priced items) were doing what they were supposed to do (by society’s standards), but had the unfortunate displeasure of retiring early because they were forced to by their job or were just laid off, both due to the economy.

      Sure, there are some individuals to blame/some fault that we all have for our circumstances. There are also larger systemic issues at play. In order to truly help people more forward to self-sufficiency, we need to start with the systems that keep people reliant on them.

      • Growth

        I get what you’re trying to say. But don’t assume that I am brainwashed by the media. I interned then worked for the county. So I know for a fact that MOST of the people in my area are perpetrator of the things I listed above. The system was established to help you get on your feet, unless you have some sort of disability which I touched on in my previous comment. Being raised in poverty is an excuse that I will not except. If a homeless child can attend college then anything is possible.

        • PleaseDOBetter

          You and I may just have to agree to disagree. I think it is great that you interned and worked for the county, but that doesn’t mean that you understand the population you may have served. Unless you knew, interacted with, had some kind of contact with everyone in the county, you don’t really know what people are experiencing or not experiencing. You are speculating.

          My comment about media (that I probably didn’t make clear) had to do with falling into the trap about telling a single story and using that as the basis of success, such as what you have done with using the example of a homeless child attending college. If you are going to intellectualize your point, please do so in a way that is representative of data/statistics. Poverty is clearly a barrier to success. Outlier examples cannot be the model of success when many stories are not of success.

          My point simply is that while some individuals are to blame for their circumstances, not all are. Instead of grouping individuals and blaming them all, why don’t we look at/overhaul systems in place that don’t allow for everyone to be successful?

  • bigdawgman

    As my boss used to say “No company ever down-sized itself to greatness.” This is the time to be bold and pass bills to fix the infrastructure and create jobs. Then the welfare and food stamp rolls will drop on their own. Keep on cutting and you’re going to have a revolution on your hands….

  • Ebby

    I wish that all the poor and hungry people can knox on these idiots doors and so that they can see for themselves what it’s really like. Maybe they can open up thier eyes and see the struggle is real folks.

  • Guest360

    For there to be as many educated representatives in congress, they sure as hell aren’t that smart. Taking money away from people who barely have it wont make them to find jobs when there aren’t any to find! Focus on creating the jobs you want people to get first. THEN talk about cutting benefits. Its of no help to anyone to be a*s backwards with this. Such nonsense