Indiana Senator Dick Lugar recently reintroduced stalled legislation that would significantly reduce federal funding for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, collectively known as Food Stamps.
The Food Stamp program, along with several other federal nutritional programs, is one of the largest parts of the 2008 Farm Bill. Over half of farm bill funding goes to nutritional programs, which include traditional programs like Food Stamps, as well as those dedicated to improving local nutrition by encouraging consumption of locally grown produce.
As Congress debates reducing agricultural spending to help address the growing budget deficit, Democrats and Republicans are both targeting these nutritional programs. Senator Lugar’s legislation would significantly reduce Food Stamps funding, eliminating $40 billion from farm subsidy and nutritional programs. To put this in perspective, in 2010, the Food Stamp program distributed $63 billion of nutritional aid.
According to some analysts, this reduction would significantly cut access to nutritional aid. According to the Heartland Health Alliance Chief Nutritional Strategist, “A legislative plan by Senator Lugar to cut federal food stamp spending alone by $14 billion over 10 years as part of the 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization would eliminate nutrition assistance to more than 74,000 Illinois residents, of which more than 15,000 would be in Chicago.” Given that significant portions of Chicago’s population, along with countless urban and rural areas across the country, already encounter difficulties finding adequate, nutritional food, this elimination could be devastating to many low-income families.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer