June 7, 2013
On Monday, June 10, 2013, the Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the Farm Bill, the comprehensive piece of legislation that guides and authorizes funding for most federal farm and food policies, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). A cut of $4.1 billion over 10 years to SNAP is included in the Senate bill, meaning 500,000 households will lose an average of $90 per month in SNAP benefits.
While these cuts are extremely damaging, they pale in comparison to the proposed SNAP cuts in the House's Farm Bill, which total $20 billion over 10 years. The House is expected to take up their version of the bill the week of June 17. In preparation of the debates that will occur on the House floor beginning that week, some Members of Congress are participating in a "Live on a Food Stamp Budget" challenge. The challenge, sponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), encourages Members to try living on a SNAP benefit for either one day or an entire week to highlight the already-limited benefits to SNAP recipients and the threat of the unconscionable cuts to SNAP proposed in the House bill.