Federal Farm Bill Food Stamps Cuts Hurt Ohioans, Senator Says

Jan 29, 2014

The U.S. House passed a compromise Farm bill Wednesday, which among other provisions will makes some cuts to food stamps.

Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio says the bill does some good, but critics disagree. Emily McCord of member station WYSO in Yellow Springs reports.

The deal includes 8.6 billion dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Senator 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. 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.

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 dollars.