850,000 households across the country – encompassing 1.7 million people – are now set to lose around $90 a month in food stamp benefits because of the US Senate vote last night on the 2014 Farm Bill.
The bill, which passed in the House last week, passed 68-32 in the Senate and includes an $8.7 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps. President Barack Obama has indicated that he intends to sign the legislation, hailing the “strong bipartisan vote.”
“This bill will result in less food on the table for children, seniors, and veterans who deserve better from Congress,while corporations continue to receive guaranteed federal handouts.” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, who voted against the legislation. Thirty percent of the cuts could come from New York state alone.
The cuts come on the heels of a recent $11 cut from food stamp checks that went into effect in November. Over the course of the recession, the amount of families relying on food stamps to make ends meet has ballooned, and with each cut to the program, food pantries report larger crowds. Poor families, which are often headed by single mothers, are hit the hardest by cuts. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men across the United States.
“It’s absolutely devastating,” said President Sheena Wright of the United Way in New York. “You are going to have to make a decision on what you are going to do, buy food or pay rent.” Wright reportedly expects “a surge of hungry people” due to the program cuts.
Media Resources: CNN Money 2/4/14; MSNBC.com 2/4/14; New York Times 2/4/14; PBS Newshour 2/4/14; White House Press Release 2/4/14; Feminist Newswire 5/17/13