Yee-haw! The Republican House and sorta-Democratic Senate are nearing a "compromise" on the farm bill, the compromise in question largely revolving around how many Americans will go how hungry over the next decade as a result of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. House Republicans had called for $40 billion in cuts over a decade, kicking millions of people
out of the program altogether, including 170,000 veterans
. Senate Democrats, or enough of them to get the bill passed, wanted a mere $4 billion in cuts over a decade. And as usual, the Democrats' compromise-in-advance tactic will lead to much larger cuts in the final bill: It's looking like the final number will be $9 billion in food stamp cuts
over a decade.
The $9 billion in cuts would come from changes in the relationship between SNAP eligibility and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program:
The negotiated farm bill would tweak the program by requiring states to pay at least $20 in heating assistance to eligible households. The change would reduce, but not eliminate, SNAP payments based on heat-and-eat eligibility and save nearly $9 billion, aides said.
The changes would affect at least 800,000 households, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office — a number small enough, aides said, that both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans might support the compromise.
Some Democrats beg to differ:
Needy families receiving food aid “didn’t spend our nation into debt and we shouldn’t tighten the federal belt around their waists,” [Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand] said in a statement. In New York, Gillibrand said, nearly 300,000 families would lose about $90 in monthly assistance. “That’s the last week of groceries for the month,” she said.
Tell your senators: Absolutely no cuts to food stamps. None.