Gillibrand to introduce Farm Bill amendment protecting SNAP

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

NEW YORK, N.Y., June 4, 2012- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced today that she will introduce an amendment to the Farm Bill to restore proposed Nutrition Title cuts by reducing federal subsidies for crop insurance companies.

The 2012 Farm Bill, expected to head to the Senate floor for a vote this week, includes more than $4 billion in spending reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, over the next decade. Gillibrand, the only Democrat to vote against the bill in the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, will offer her amendment on the Senate floor during the Farm Bill debate to restore the restore the reductions in SNAP funding while reducing payments to crop insurance companies. 

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“This Farm Bill is much more than a set of esoteric numbers. It's very much about the decisions we are making regarding economic growth, regarding our agriculture industries, and the moral obligation we have to our families that are at risk,” said Gillibrand during a press conference in New York today.  

“Food stamps are an extraordinary investment because for every dollar that you put into the SNAP program, you get out $1.71,” she continued. “Under the current bill, families in New York will lose about $90 a month in their food stamps, which means in the third week of the month, many families' children will go to school hungry. It also means less food on a kitchen table for children. I have very grave concerns about what that says about us, and what we're going to do about it.”

A majority of the 2012 Senate Farm Bill spending is on SNAP, at an annual cost of approximately $75 billion. Nutrition programs, the largest of which is SNAP going to about 46 million people, constitute approximately 80 percent of the bill's half-trillion-dollar cost over the next five years. 

According to Gillibrand, the bill proposes a $4.5 billion cut to SNAP over 10 years by reducing the ability of states to take part in the “Heat and Eat” program, which allows a state to provide additional food stamps to low-income families with high heating or utility costs included in their monthly rent. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the 2012 Farm Bill would "tighten up" the program that "states have been using inappropriately." 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the proposed food stamp cuts would result in an average benefit cut of $90 per month, or 32%, for almost a half a million households.


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