House panel votes $844 million cut in food stamps
Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:17 PM ET
By Charles Abbott
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new government report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table.
About 300,000 Americans would lose benefits due to tighter eligibility rules for food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, under the House plan. The cuts would be part of $3.7 billion pared from Agriculture Department programs over five years as part of government-wide spending reductions. . . .
Antihunger activists said hunger rates were up for the fifth year in a row, so the cuts were a mistake.
"It is hard to imagine any congressional action that is more detached from reality," said James Weill of the Food Research and Action Center.
"Cutting food stamps now is a scandal," said David Beckman of Bread for the World, pointing to losses from hurricanes. [ed. note. No shit.]
The House plan would also cut U.S. crop supports by $1 billion, land stewardship by $760 million, research by $620 million and rural development by $446 million. . . .
North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy complained that 40,000 children would lose free meals at school because of that provision.
"You have not even come clean that kids are going to lose school breakfast and school lunch under this," he said. . . .
A new Agriculture Department report found 38.2 million Americans "were food insecure" in 2004, an increase of nearly 2 million from the previous year. Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde food insecurity "now equals the worst levels" since recordkeeping began a decade ago.
USDA said 11.9 percent of households, "at some time during the year, had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources."
And did you catch the part about the $760 million dollar cut in conservation programs and another $446 million for rural development? Rural areas are some of the poorest in America. They could use some more help. But no, a few rich people might have to do without their tax cuts if we help out hungry people, conserve the land, and help people in rural areas get themselves out of poverty. Can't have that now, can we? [posted on 10/28/05]