Policy Round Up: Food Insecurity and SNAP

Written by

Tyler Grote
Tyler Grote Tyler Grote is an editorial assistant with GlobalPolicy.TV. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics and a minor in rhetoric. He is passionate about urban planning and development issues, particularly as they affect struggling urban communities. He has a strong interest in smart growth policies that revitalize old and develop new neighborhoods that encourage an active environment where people can live, work and play.

Food insecurity is a major concern for millions across the country and federal assistance remains a political divisive issue. Recently, House Republicans proposed to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as food stamps—thrusting the program back into the spotlight in Washington.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times profiles a struggling family from rural Dyer County, Tennessee that uses a monthly food stipend from SNAP and juxtaposes their situation against the views of their U.S. Congressman, Republican Stephen Fincher, who wishes to make drastic cuts to federal food stamp program.

“More than half the counties with the highest concentration of food insecurity are rural, according to an analysis by Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks. In Dyer County, it found, 19.4 percent of residents were “food insecure” in 2011, compared with 16.4 percent nationwide.”

“Mr. Fincher, who was elected in 2010 on a Tea Party wave and collected nearly $3.5 million in farm subsidies from the government from 1999 to 2012, recently voted for a farm bill that omitted food stamps. ‘The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country,’ Mr. Fincher said.”

Read the full article on the The New York Times. Published September 4, 2013.

David Rogers of Politico highlights the alarming 2012 data released by the U.S. Agriculture Department on household food security amid the heated debate over the estimated $40 billion package of food stamp cuts promoted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

“From 1998 through 2007, for example, the same survey showed that the percentage of insecure households averaged about 11 percent. But with the recession, the number jumped to 14.6 percent in 2008 and has largely remained there since.”

“The reductions double the level of 10-year savings previously proposed by the House Agriculture Committee on a bipartisan vote in June. The great fear in the agriculture community is that Cantor is pushing the House so far to the right on the nutrition issue that he will kill any chance of enacting farm legislation before the current law runs out Sept. 30.”

Read the full article on Politico. Published September 4, 2013.

Approximately 20,000 unemployed Kansas residents will no longer receive food assistance through SNAP once a federal waiver that was previously used in every state will be allowed to expire at the end of the month.

“The Kansas Department for Children and Families said able-bodied adults with no dependents would need to work no less than 20 hours per week to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP or food stamps.”

Read the full article on The Washington Post. Published September 4, 2013.

While states such as Kansas are willing to allow 20,000 residents to no longer receive food stamps under the previous program, other states such as Kentucky fear what could happen if the proposed massive cuts to SNAP occur, according to Greg Stotelmyer of the Kentucky News Connection.

“An economic policy analyst says Kentucky is “especially vulnerable” to cuts in food stamp benefits, because of the state’s continued high unemployment and struggles with chronic poverty.”

According to Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, the new proposal would immediately kick up to 88,000 Kentuckians out of the program.”

Read the full article on the Floyd County Times. Published September 5, 2013.