Major cuts to the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are scheduled to go into effect by November of this year. This federal government action will decrease food stamp benefits for the 22 million low-income American families desperately relying on them.
The drastic reduction will have negative effects on the nation’s poor, who are already suffering through a sluggish economy with little to no growth. The impending cut to the government’s food stamp program was set into action by federal lawmakers years ago. However, no Congressional deal has been made to help avoid a major cut to the SNAP program.
A liberal Washington think tank called the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities has calculated that the average household dependent on food stamps could lose up to $25 a month in benefits if the cuts to SNAP go into effect. Other industry insiders are convinced that a majority of the people getting SNAP benefits are not aware of the looming budget cuts.
“The general public doesn’t realize it,” said Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network in her Monday interview with The Huffington Post. “We certainly know the low income people on SNAP don’t know the cut is coming,” Cole continued.
The main consensus among members of Congress (especially Republicans) is that cuts to the SNAP program must be made. The big issue is over how much of the program to actually cut. In 2010, Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration addressed a need for additional money to offset the cost of various spending bills. They promised to replace the money later, however that never happened.
In a May report, Stacy Dean and Dottie Rosenbaum of the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities wrote:
“The $668 maximum monthly benefit for a family of four will fall to $643. This cut will be the equivalent of taking away 14 meals per month for a family of four, or 11 meals for a family of three.” (Center Report)
In the midst of actions and inactivity by Congress, the future of programs like Medicare and Social Security may also be in danger. Regardless of what actions are agreed upon by the government, it is safe to say that America’s rough economic times will get rougher as solutions become more elusive.