From Rose Lichtenfels, our intern from Trinity College:
Washington’s next political cliff could mean that up to 47 million Americans will have a harder time getting food on the table .
Members of the Senate and House will meet Wednesday to begin negotiations over the latest versions of the farm bill, which include funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamp or SNAP benefits.
Large cuts in federal food aid program are scheduled to take effect Nov. 1st when a temporary boost from Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act expires. Friday’s expiration date will automatically cut nearly $5 billion from SNAP spending over the next year. A House-approved plan would increase SNAP cuts and slash $40 billion from the program.
“The truth of the food stamp program is this: it barely provides enough to keep the hunger pangs away for half the day, and the vast majority of people who use the program only need it temporarily,’’ said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who has joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal and 37 other colleagues to oppose SNAP cuts.
According to the USDA, the $80 billion per year SNAP program provides nutritional aid to roughly 14 percent of all U.S. households. In 2012, 403,466 Connecticut residents received an average monthly SNAP benefit of $143.90.
In the event that Congress fails to meet its January 1st deadline for a new Farm Bill, parts of federal agricultural policy will start reverting back to 1940’s era policies.