It seems there is a disconnect between what Daily Kos claims happened with food stamps from the recently passed Farm Bill with that of my State Senator. (For the record, I signed several petitions opposing any cuts to Food Stamps).
Here's the email I received from Daily Kos regarding the Farm Bill:
...295,862 members of the the Daily Kos community sent 544,975 emails to their members of Congress opposing any cuts to food stamps, along with 792,518 petition signatures with the same message.Here's the email I received from Sen. Stabenow regarding the Farm Bill. It doesn't sound like any needy people are being booted off SNAP; just waste, fraud and abuse being curtailed, which is a good thing.
Despite this, yesterday a Farm Bill with $8 billion in food stamp cuts passed the Senate—having earlier passed the House. The Farm Bill will now become law, and these food stamp cuts will go into effect.
The result will be more poor Americans going hungry. 850,000 families with nearly 2,000,000 people will lose an average of $90 / month in food assistance. That is on top of an $11 billion cut to food stamps in November that cost 48 million people an average of $38 / month.
Still, our work had an impact. Back in June, only three Senate Democrats voted against an earlier version of the Farm Bill with food stamp cuts. Yesterday, nine Senate Democrats rejected the Farm BIll. In the House, over 100 Democrats (a majority of the caucus) said “no” to a Farm Bill that cut food stamps.
This is a sad day, but I am grateful to have fought against food stamp cuts with each and every one of you. There is a war against poor people in America, but you stood up and fought back. At Daily Kos, we are going to keep standing up and fighting back.
One day we will roll back these cuts and expand the food stamp program. For now, please consider making a donation to a food bank near you. There are people out there who are really going to need the help.
Feeding America has a national food bank locator, which you can view by clicking here.
Senior Campaign Director, Daily Kos
P.S. We lost the vote yesterday, but we won’t stop fighting to restore these cuts. Republicans are waging a war on the poor -- cutting food stamps, unemployment benefits, and heating aid, blocking a raise in the minimum wage, and so much more. We need to stop playing defense and go on offense. Can you chip in $5 to help fuel our campaign and breaking news coverage?
Emphasis in bold mine.
Thank you for sharing your concerns about provisions affecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) in the 2014 Farm Bill. I hope this letter will clear up any questions you might have.Did Daily Kos exaggerate the danger?? Sounds like it to me. What do you think?
I care deeply about protecting nutrition assistance programs, and I am very proud that the final version of the Farm Bill ensures that no one will be removed from SNAP and that all families will get 100 percent of the assistance they are intended to receive under the current program. In fact, the 2014 Farm Bill saves the program from the devastating $133 billion in cuts in the budget passed by the House of Representatives and the $40 billion in cuts passed in the House Farm Bill.
During our negotiations on a final bill, every time House members offered amendments to gut food assistance or kick families off of SNAP, I led the charge and beat them back. I know that for struggling families, food assistance is a lifeline. Nearly half of those who receive these benefits are children!
And that's why it's so important to me that we defend the integrity of the system. In order to protect benefits for 46 million families, our Farm Bill tackles fraud and misuse to make sure every dollar goes to families who truly need it.
For example, you may have heard about lottery winners in Michigan who stayed on food assistance after collecting substantial cash prizes. Obviously the program was not intended to provide benefits to someone with a million dollars in the bank.
Sometimes states also misuse the program. SNAP benefits are based on a family's income and expenses. A handful of states have been providing $1 or less per year in home heating assistance to people who may not even have a heating bill, so that they can qualify for a standard utility deduction and additional food assistance above and beyond the benefits they are intended to receive.
While I understand the desire to provide additional food help, by misusing the SNAP connection to the heating assistance program these states are undermining the SNAP benefits as a whole and jeopardizing heating assistance for people who have the greatest need. This only gives ammunition to those who oppose the food assistance program entirely. In fact, The Washington Post wrote that this loophole"...looks like a political gift to SNAP's perennial opponents."
The reality is we stopped tens of billions in cuts and, instead, achieved $8 billion in savings by eliminating fraud and misuse without changing any standard benefits or eligibility for anyone on food assistance. In this challenging economy, we should be increasing food help not cutting it!
I'm proud we were able to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that substantially cuts big farm subsidies for the first time in decades, makes conservation programs more effective, strengthens access to healthy local foods, and confronts misuse in food assistance programs while protecting critical food assistance for families in need.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please don't hesitate to do so again if my office can be of assistance.
United States Senator