Several Democrats took to the House floor on Wednesday to denounce large cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) described the proposed cuts as “cruel and harmful” because it would “increase hunger in America.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said the “morally wrong” $21 billion cut would hurt the U.S. economy along with low-income families.
The cuts to SNAP would remove about 2 million people from the program, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Additionally, roughly 210,000 children would lose access to free school meals.
“We cannot allow the budget to be balanced on the backs of the poor and most vulnerable in our country,” Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) said on the House floor.
“We should not be cutting the safety net for our most vulnerable while maintaining costly government subsidies for the well-off junk food, oil and gas industries,” Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) added. “A Nevada child in my district who receives a $1.48 per meal is not the problem with the federal budget. The problem is corporate welfare and the special interest giveaways that litter our tax code.”
The House Agriculture Committee approved the proposed cuts on Wednesday as part of a larger farm bill. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) offered an amendment to reverse the cuts, but three Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat it.
Republicans have claimed the program has grown out of control and needs to be reigned in. About 1 in 7 Americans receive food stamps from the program.
“The FARRM Act reforms the SNAP program for the first time since the welfare reforms of 1996,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-OK) said Wednesday. “Our reforms rein in the cost of the program by enforcing the asset and income tests, ending recruitment activities that increase enrollment, and preventing states from circumventing the law to receive greater federal funding. We tighten restrictions to prevent lottery winners and traditional college students from participating in the program.”