American anti-poverty groups are condemning the farm bill that was recently unveiled by the leadership of the House Agriculture Committee, claiming that its deep cuts to the Food Stamp Program are unreasonable and unconscionable, especially in the current economic climate.
Earlier this week, the leadership of the House Agriculture Committee released a draft of the 2012 Farm Bill, one that significantly differs from the bill recently passed by the Senate. The House bill would protect and expand certain farm subsidies, tailor crop insurance programs to meet the needs of Southern farmers, and, most importantly, would significantly cut the budget of the Food Stamp Program, one of the nation’s most important nutritional programs.
While both the House and Senate believe that serious spending cuts are necessary to protect the long-term fiscal health of the nation, they disagree as to the amount of those cuts. The Senate bill would reduce food stamps by about $4 billion, a figure that many anti-poverty groups argue is too much. The House bill, on the other hand, would nearly quadruple this number, reducing food stamps by $16 billion.
Poverty groups are already rallying in opposition to these cuts. The draconian bill, they argue, would deny food assistance to about 2 to 3 million people and would cut school lunch availability for about 280,000 children. The House Republican leadership argue that these reductions are necessary and that many food stamp recipients are abusing the program and do not need assistance (a claim that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office denies).
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer