Cleveland: Proposed food stamp cuts spark debate

6:24 PM, Jul 16, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Possible cuts in what most call the Food Stamp program is sparking lots of debate.

A Republican-driven House Committee has approved a possible $16 billion in cuts over ten years.

That's a reduction of an earlier $33 million in cuts some Republicans sought.

A Senate version would entail making $4 billion in cuts over ten years.

Valerie Happy, her husband, and six children depend on about $509 a month in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

SNAP's the official government name for the former Food Stamps program.

"My husband gets paid and it goes for the mortgage, bills,and stuff. By the time that's done, that doesn't leave anthing," she said.

Anne Goodman, CEO  of the Cleveland Foodbank, testified against cuts before a Senate committee.

"This economy continues to hurt people...This can't happen," she said.

Happy said her family already depends on free-meal and Foodbank programs at the end of some months.

More cuts would mean, "we wouldn't be able to eat as well as we do."

Happy believes some people get food stamps who should not.

"I see them in Cadillacs and I'm like, 'why do they need it?'" she asked.

In 2000, 18 million people got food stamps. In 2011, the number was 46 million people. That's one in 7 Americans.

Republican critics claim eligibility requirements are too generous and all programs should expect cuts in this time of crunched budgets and a huge federal deficit.

It's unclear if there will be any further Congressional votes on this issue before the election.

Democrats oppose cuts and many Republicans want steeper cuts than are now being proposed.


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