Budget cuts threaten food stamp program, leaving many families without enough food
POSTED: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 7:00am
UPDATED: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 7:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Starting today millions of families across the country may not have enough food.
Food stamps are being cut because the stimulus money that boosted those benefits for the last four years ran out last night.
Congress is been going back-and-forth over how much more to cut this program.
Bottom line: families who rely on the government to help feed their children could be getting a lot less help.
The cuts that kick in today average $36 a month a family of four. Alyssa Hammond and her four kids were already having a tough time making ends meet on minimum wage.
"I won't be able to afford the formula and things I need for my children throughout the month you know basic meals," said Food Stamp Recipient Alyssa Hammond.
Food stamps - officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or "SNAP" - serve 47 million Americans.
They lost 5 billion dollars overnight.
Officials say it's a myth that people on food stamps aren't working.
"We have so much economic insecurity - people losing jobs, people going from full time work to part time work - that half of all children on foods stamps at some point during childhood," said Jim Weill, Food Action Research Center.
The farm bill that funds food stamps expired. Both Democrats and Republicans have proposed more cuts.
Senate democrats want four-and-a-half billion.
House Republicans are pushing for ten times that - almost 40 billion: "It will actually result in somewhere between three and four million Americans who would otherwise be qualified for the program now being disqualified from the program and probably not participating in the program," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The deeper cuts would drop almost four million people from the program if they can't find a job.
The Republican plan would allow three months of benefits every three years unless the recipient works part-time, or is in job training.