House Slashes Money for Food Stamps

Bill would cut $40 billion over a decade, setting up fight in Senate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2013 6:22 PM CDT
House Slashes Money for Food Stamps
From left, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, wait to speak with reporters following a strategy session at the Capitol Wednesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – House Republicans have laid down their marker in the fight over the nation's food-stamp program: They passed a bill tonight that would slash nearly $40 billion over 10 years, arguing that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is bloated and too-easily abused, reports the Hill. The vote was close, 217-210, without a single Democrat voting in favor. The CBO estimates that about 4 million Americans would lose benefits under the House's tougher restrictions, but the rules are still a long way from being put into place. Now comes the wrangling with the Senate, and Democrats there say they won't agree to the big House cuts.

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Some of the dueling quotes:

  • Pro: Too many people "choose to abuse the system," says Eric Cantor, who has spearheaded the House plan, including the July split of the food-stamp program from the farm bill. “Frankly it’s wrong for hard-working middle-class Americans to pay for that." Adds Republican Tim Huelskamp of Kansas: The tougher rules mean “you can no longer sit on your couch … and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you.”
  • Con: “It’s a sad day in the people’s House when the leadership brings to the floor one of the most heartless bills I have ever seen,” said Democrat James McGovern of Massachusetts. “It's terrible policy trapped in a terrible process.” Democrat Jackie Speier of California used props including a cooked steak and a can of caviar to argue that lawmakers should instead cut their own travel perks, reports the Washington Post.
(Read more food stamps stories.)

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