When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.
You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:32 pm
For many Americans it's been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country's Northern edges to the Deep South.
When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well.
This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
In Washington state, food stamp recipients are being notified that their benefits will be reduced in November. Federal stimulus funding has provided a boost to benefits since 2009, but that funding just expired.
Before the government shutdown, the House of Representatives voted to cut $40 billion from the federal food stamp program. Senate Democrats and President Obama have said they will block the plan.
Even so, the debate over food stamp funding is worrisome for people who receive food assistance. It comes on the eve of scheduled cuts to SNAP beneficiaries that will go into affect in November, when the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expires.
David Hyde talks with Kent resident Catherine Hernandez about how her family uses food stamps. Later in the hour, Ross Reynolds talks with John Camp, administrator for the Department of Social and Health Services' food assistance program about distributing food stamps in Washington.
Republicans and Democrats have been debating a bill that would cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next 10 years. House Republicans argue that the food stamp program has grown too large and unmanageable. Representative Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., has been an active advocate against the Republican-backed bill. She explains the implication of this bill.