The House is currently considering a legislation that would cut $40 billion from food stamps in the upcoming decade. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that around 4 million people would be removed from the program, which currently has around 47 million recipients. The majority of these recipients are children, the elderly, disabled, and unemployed. However, there are additional amendments which are being considered with those cuts.
States would require that food stamp recipients must be in a job training program or working part time. If someone is unemployed and cannot find a job, they may not be able to continue receiving their food stamps benefits. The federal money that states would usually use for food stamps could be used however the state pleased. This would essentially be like taking benefits from those who needed them the most and giving that money back to the federal and state governments for other projects instead. The $40 billion dollar cut that the House is planning would come in addition to another reduction that will occur at the beginning of November.
Originally, the House wanted around $20.5 billion in cuts from the food stamp program within its new version of the farm bill. Congress renews this bill every five years. The bill is supposed to help pair food stamps with agriculture subsidies to help ensure that there will be support from Republican legislators, urban and Democratic lawmakers. The House farm bill that was proposed failed because the Republicans believed that having a $20.5 billion dollar reduction cut was not enough, while most Democrats felt that it was far too much.
There have been several suggestions of ways that the government could change their approach towards wasteful spending and still manage to help farmers who need support. One option would be to apply the same income test to qualify for farm subsidies as what food stamps currently uses. That would require 130 percent of the poverty line, which would be $23,550 per year for a family of four people.
Another option that would be able to help with the issues with the food stamp program and its budget could be found in making new economic policies. The government could create a number of new economic policies that would encourage more job creation and growth, which would make it easier for people to get jobs and would make them less likely to need use of the food stamp program and its benefits. Many people are part of the food stamp program because they are struggling to find a job or they have a job but are unable to make enough money to pay for rent, bills and feeding their family. This could be changed if there were more programs that would stimulate the job market. As a whole, the farm bill and how it will affect food stamp recipients and farmers will need to be discussed in depth before an adequate solution will be able to be found.