House Passes $39B Deep Cuts to Food Stamps

The House approved a Republican plan Thursday to cut food stamps by $39 billion during the next decade, setting up a showdown with Democrats over the program used by nearly 48 million low-income Americans.
September 20, 2013

The House approved a Republican plan Thursday to cut food stamps by $39 billion during the next decade, setting up a showdown with Democrats over the program used by nearly 48 million low-income Americans.

The House voted 217-210 for the bill that cuts nearly twice as much from food stamps as a bill the House rejected in June. It is also far more than a Senate measure passed earlier this year that would trim about $4.5 billion in spending. The bill failed to draw the support of a single Democrat, many of whom have said the steep cuts would erode a key safety net depended upon by families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work.

Fifteen Republicans also voted against the bill.

Republicans argued that the bill would restore the program's original eligibility limits and preserve the safety net for the truly needy.

The bill would cause 3 million people to lose benefits while another 850,000 would see their benefits cut, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The White House threatened Wednesday to veto the bill, calling food stamps one of the "nation's strongest defenses against hunger and poverty."

The battle over food stamps has left in limbo the future of farm policy, and slowed efforts to write a new five-year, $500 billion farm bill. The current law expires on Sept. 30.

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