Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 4:27 PM
The House of Representatives passed a compromise Farm bill Wednesday that, among other provisions, will makes some cuts to food stamps. Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says the bill does a lot of good, but as WYSO’s Emily McCord reports, critics say it leaves many Americans in the cold.
The deal includes 8.6 billion dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Sen. Sherrod Brown says isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than the 40 billion dollars Republicans originally wanted.
“This bill will help growth. It’s good on rural development. It’s good on conservation," Brown said. "We’ve saved billions dollars by ending the ludicrous, wasteful farm subsidies that have gone to big corporate farmers for decades”
And Brown says these SNAP cuts won’t affect any Ohioans. That’s because the bill would get rid of a provision that automatically increases food stamp benefits to people who qualify for heating assistance. Ohio is not one of the 17 states who offer what’s known as “heat and eat” benefits. But Lisa Hamler Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says that’s cold comfort for many low income Americans.
“All of us are going to be shivering from our very high utility bills, and we know that for low-income folks that they’re are making choices because their benefits aren’t adequate," Fugitt said.
1 in 6 Ohioans are dependent on food stamps. And those benefits have been whittled down in recent months. A new work requirement went into effect statewide last fall and in November, a portion of the federal stimulus act expired, cutting SNAP by $5 billion .