Congresswoman Pingree on Proposed Cuts to Food Stamp Program

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,530)

House Republicans have introduced a bill this week to cut $40 billion in food stamp benefits, which would force 4 million people off the program next year according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.  Traditionally the SNAP program has been part of the Farm Bill, but this year House Republicans split the Farm Bill into two pieces.  The first part of the bill was passed earlier this year, but conservatives have been opposing the portion containing the SNAP program because the cuts haven’t been drastic enough.

“These cuts would hurt seniors, children and working families who struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. Already the average recipients only gets less than $1.50 per meal from SNAP-its outrageous that the Republicans think there is some room to cut further.  It just can’t be done without making people go hungry,” Pingree said in a press release issued yesterday.  She will vote against the proposed $40 billion cut to the program this week.

Just over 250,000 people get SNAP benefits in Maine-about 1 in 5 residents. Two-thirds of the families getting benefits have children and half have at least one person working full time.

“The Republicans want to change the rules to encourage states to kick families off food stamps-it actually gives states a big financial incentive by telling them they can keep half of the benefits of every family they kick out of the program,” Pingree said.  “That’s the wrong message to send to state governments.”