When the new budget for the federal government is finally passed, there’s a good chance that billions of dollars will be cut from SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides and issues food stamps. A budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week could bring the food stamps cuts total to well over $10 billion.
Photo: Paul Sableman on Flickr
The Sentinel reports that the House’s passed budget would cut $10 billion from SNAP over 10 years, but also recommends an additional $150 billion in cuts over that same time frame. Newsweek also reports a total in $150 billion in cuts to poverty programs in the $4.1 trillion budget, a slash in spending that affects SNAP as well. The initial $10 billion in spending decreases alone could force anywhere from about 150,000-550,000 families out of the program per year.
The House recommends that the reductions come from restructuring the program to make less people eligible, cap the available amount of money for qualifying households, and asks states to pay more for their share of the program. Jared Call from California Food Policy Advocates told Newsweek that for the Golden State, their pay increase could amount to as much as $1.8 billion as a result.
Currently, 93 percent of federal SNAP funding is spent on food, with the remainder going to administrative costs.
SNAP has seen a decrease in enrollment in recent years, which is mainly attributed to the economy’s improvement since the Great Recession. However, only about 75% of eligible participants enroll for SNAP, largely because many don’t know that they qualify or simply find the application process too complex to complete. With 1 in 6 Americans going hungry every year, a number that exceeds almost any developed nation, programs like SNAP exist to help alleviate national food security issues.
For those wondering if and when the House’s budget will become law, it will first need to be reconciled with the Senate’s budget, which aims to be passed next week. The final budget agreed upon by both houses of Congress would then be sent to the President for signature or veto. It remains to be seen just how much of the SNAP cuts will make it into that final appropriations bill as of now.