The US Senate voted yesterday against preserving around $4.5 million in food stamp, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), funding. The amendment to preserve the funding, part of a large farm bill, needed 60 votes to pass but was voted down in a 33 to 66 vote. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) offered the amendment to prevent cuts in food aid by reducing the guaranteed profit for crop insurance companies and lowering the payments they receive. The cuts to SNAP aid will target the “Heat and Eat” initiative, in which families who are receiving even $1 of utility assistance are eligible for SNAP benefits.
Senator Gillibrand urged the Senate to pass the amendment, saying “half of the food stamp beneficiaries are children, 17 percent are seniors, and unfortunately now 1.5 million households are veterans that are receiving food stamps.” She continued, “We all here in this chamber take the ability to feed our children for granted. That is not the case for too many families in America.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, 1 in 7 Americans now receive SNAP benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cuts will result in families seeing a cut of $90 a month, or approximately a quarter of a family’s food budget.
LA Times 6/20/12; Huffington Post 6/19/12; Politico 6/19/12