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Republicans Propose Food Stamp Cuts to Trim Deficit

Republicans controlling the House are eying big cuts to food stamps as they piece together legislation to trim $261 billion from the federal budget over the next decade, hoping to forestall major Pentagon cutbacks.

The cuts to food stamps would reduce the monthly benefit for a family of four by almost $60, repealing increases that were enacted three years ago as part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus. The changes would also force up to 3 million people out of the program by tightening eligibility rules, the administration estimates.

The food stamp cuts would total $8 billion over the coming year and $34 billion over a decade. The program has been expanded greatly over the past few years — enrollment tops 46 million nationwide, up from about 33 million in 2009 — and now costs about $80 billion a year. The average monthly benefit for a family of four is about $500, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research and advocacy group.

Food stamps are just one of the cuts Republicans want to muscle through the House as a follow-up to the tightfisted GOP budget plan approved last month. That measure is nonbinding but instructed six House committees to come up with spending reductions as an alternative to across-the-board cuts scheduled to slam both the Pentagon and domestic agencies in January. Those required cuts are a consequence of the failure of a budget “supercommittee” to agree on a deficit-reduction plan last year.

House panels are producing legislation this week as the first step in implementing the GOP’s budget plan, starting with Judiciary panel action Tuesday on a proposal that would sharply limit damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.

On Wednesday, the Ways and Means panel will weigh in with provisions to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to claim refundable child tax credits by requiring them to have Social Security numbers to prove they are citizens or legal workers. The panel would also eliminate a grant program to states for social services such as day care and would increase the amount of health insurance subsidies under the new health care law that people must pay back if their incomes go up.

The Republicans’ deficit-trimming package, while controversial, is tiny when compared to the $5.2 trillion in reductions called for by the broader GOP budget over 10 years from Obama’s February budget plan. The smaller legislation taking shape on Capitol Hill would jettison bitterly partisan proposals that would dramatically transform Medicare and sharply cut the Medicaid health care plan for the poor and disabled.

“Education, jobs and health care would be slashed,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Tuesday of the broader budget. “We know that cuts have to be made. And important spending decisions must be made. But you just can’t say, ‘Let seniors pay more for Medicare, let’s not invest in education and the rest while we give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country.’”

Republicans say the cuts to food stamps would be modest when compared with the explosive growth of the program in recent years. Costs have more than tripled in the past decade, going from $21 billion in 2022 to $76 billion last year, with participation rising from 19 million people 10 years ago to more than 46 million at the beginning of this year. The GOP plan would lower projected costs by about 4 percent.

Many of the immediate cuts would return benefit levels to where they would be had Democrats not temporarily increased them in the stimulus measure. Democrats themselves tapped the benefit increases in 2010 to pay for earlier legislation.

More controversial, however, are rule changes that the administration says would force 3 million people off food stamps next year by tightening rules that require most recipients to have no more than $2,000 in savings. And GOP critics say 15 states and the District of Columbia are gaming the system by giving token energy subsidies to food stamp recipients to boost benefits.

Driving the GOP effort is a desire to avert a $55 billion cut — about 10 percent — to the Pentagon budget and a $43 billion cut to domestic agencies starting Jan. 1. There’s bipartisan opposition to this so-called sequester, but it’s not at all clear what part the cuts proposed by Republicans will play in any ultimate solution. Many budget observers believe any solution to the sequester, as well as what to do about the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at the same time, will be postponed until after the November election.

For starters, Democrats controlling the Senate have no plans to advance a companion package of spending cuts. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., on Tuesday called off a vote scheduled for later this week on a resolution to counter the broad but nonbinding plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that passed the House. Conrad said he would instead launch a debate on the recommendation of Obama’s bipartisan budget panel.

Separately, the House Financial Services Committee is slated to vote on a package of recycled cuts to the administration’s financial overhaul bill, while the Oversight and Government Reform panel will vote on a plan to require federal workers to contribute more to their pensions.


  • 1. YES YES YES wrote:

    I’m SICK of working all day at my job so half the people in CH can enjoy their Sushi.
    I understand some people actually need it but I would say a majority of the time…..

  • 2. about time wrote:

    I see fancy people driving a lexus in empire kosher with a full wagon of good food and when it comes time to pay its with a food stamps. Its about time they stop taking the hard working money and just giving it out to the ones that avoid taxes.

  • 3. watergate wrote:

    i agree with 1 and 2
    but worse then us is the african americans who not only have medicaid and food stamps but live in free housing

  • 4. stupid wrote:

    YES! now the lines at empire kosher will shrink by 70% from all the free loaders!

  • 5. food stamp slam wrote:

    maybe they should only allow healthy foods to be bought with FDstamps not junk food etc. I understand that people need FDstamps but not junk food

  • 6. Andrea Schonberger wrote:

    I’ve never been on food stamps but I have personally known people receiving them–trust me, they NEEDED them. Of course, as with any government program, there will be cheaters who scam the system. The social workers should definetely establish true need for every applicant to keep fraud at a minimum. I do agree with #4 in that only real, healthy food and not junk food should be bought. I live in Washington state and some fast food places accept EBT cards which is not cool in my opinion. If your kid wants a hamburger buy the ingrediants to make one–it’s healthier and taste better.

  • 7. But not the truly needy wrote:

    Waste, Waste, Waste, Waste YES cut the waste but keep food stamps in place for the truly deserving that depend on them for food.

  • 8. THRILLED BY THIS!! wrote:

    I am SO sick of seeing people in their Ugg boots and dripping in diamonds in the grocery line using their benefits cards while I work two jobs to feed my family. I am sick of my taxes being ripped off by CH community members.

  • 9. About time. wrote:

    I watched a lady use food stamps to pay for a cart load of sugar fizzies and chips for Purim. LOVE that my tax dollars are going to junk food for Purim. (Of course, her husband probably works off the books, too.)

  • 11. Chillul Hashem wrote:

    This is good news. The way people around here abuse foodstamps is terrible and is a chillul Hashem. I am embarrassed that chassidim of the Rebbe steal from the government. Stop hiding your incomes, start paying taxes, and don’t waste your money on sushi and designer “not really tznius even though you might think so” clothing.

  • 13. Milhouse wrote:

    If people need help, that’s what charity funds are for. There’s no reason for the government to be in that business. As James Madison said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents”.

  • 14. DaasTorah wrote:

    It’s incredible the support that the GOP and Republican party get from frum people, who are so often on food stamps and Section 8 housing.

  • 15. rather not say wrote:

    we truely need them but are simply unable to get them as it looks like we are loaded,actually a lot of people think so,because a family member who not frum is charge of a partnership my father left us,it should be good but it’s not what it seems, for paying our bills we do depend on people help ther’s no other way, the family member will only help if it can be taken off taxes,l had ask the rebbe what we can do about,the rebbe said to trust in hashem it’s not easy to give the benfit of a doubt,but we have to try

  • 16. wow wrote:

    i hope some of the comments above who are well off now one day are in need of such services and wont be able to attain them because they voted republican who dont care about the needy…
    very selfish! many in our community DEPEND on government help, without it we are screwed!

  • 17. Only in America wrote:

    The Food Stamp program, a division of the US Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

    Meanwhile, the Parks Dept, asks “PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS” because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care for themselves.

  • 19. Nobody wrote:

    #12, force a buyout of the partnership and get control of your life. Trust in Hashem and stop relying the relative.

    Instead of demanding government help, how about we help ourselves, increase in Tzedaka and organizations which help the poor right here? Why launder the money through Washington?

    Food stamps are a wonderful thing, but we are not healthy as a community and a people when we can’t live without them.

    The government is broke. There will be cuts now or bigger cuts later. Either way, something that cannot go on forever, won’t.

  • 20. Food stamps needed wrote:

    You know something. I use foodstamps,because my husband is currently out of a job. He is actively looking, and takes anything he can gets, from delievary to driving people around. Oh, and he has a Bachelors degree in Science (btw) I cannot work since I have 2 children under 3. Purim, yes, I brought nosh- because we had to give mashalach cart was filled with chips, sugar frizzies and other stuff that guess what- WAS ON SALE. Otherwise, occasionaly when Im too tired to cook dinner after watching my dear children, I buy- GASP- sushi.

  • 21. Judgmental people wrote:

    First, i wonder how many of you who are writing how sick they are of food stamps work completely on the book, since when working on the books, the goverment takes about half of the income. For foodstamps, you need to show proof of income, which means your working on the books. Therefor the food stamps that I use, (otherwise my 2 year old, husand and me wont eat, since between taxes, rent, diapers and wipes) I, in retrospect am paying for by the taxes I pay.
    Oh and by the way, dont judge you never know when you will be in a certain situation.

  • 22. Milhouse wrote:

    #16, Republicans don’t care about the needy?! Where did you get such an idea? Republicans care about the needy, which is why they give a lot of charity. Taking from one person to give to another is not charity, it’s stealing. And it doesn’t show caring, it shows avarice.

  • 23. Milhouse wrote:

    #21, What tax money? Have you seen the size of the deficit? This isn’t tax money that’s going to the food stamps, it’s BORROWED money. Which the next generation will have to repay.

  • 24. number 21 to milhouse wrote:

    Dearest Milhouse,
    I see that you obviously dont believe that moshiach is going to come any day. Why? because you talk about the next generation having to pay for it, when you should believe that the next generation will be in geulah already. And on a different note. Wake up, this is what the government has always done- “borrow from the next generation” You are currently paying back previous money. Cheers

  • 25. to number 16 wrote:

    yes, your quite right. People survive on food stamps in ch because they do nothing but sit on their butts all day and dont lift a finger. they shouldnt get food stamps. then they’ll get off their butts and work

  • 26. to #24. wrote:

    I’m not #21 but while yes, I pray that Moshiach will come any day but we were told three generations ago that “this is the generation”…so I’m practical at the same time. CH is going down the drain. We can’t even feed ourselves.

  • 27. Milhouse wrote:

    You think when Moshiach comes the debt won’t have to be paid? What, the lenders will just forgive the money they lent, and not expect it back?! On the contrary, Shas is full of cases where we can’t resolve who owns money, so we say “let it lie until Eliyohu comes” and tells us who should get it. So Moshiach’s coming will be a time for debt repayment.

  • 28. LIVE AND LET LIVE! wrote:


  • 29. working with foodstamps wrote:

    By the way, inorder to get food stamps, you need to be working, so therefore you “cant just sit on your butt” the issue is, that if your a teacher, and your spouse is a part time employee (since someone needs to also take care of your 7 kids) then the most your making is 60,000, now average family in crownheights (including parents) is about 8. Take tax, maaser, rent, utility, Tution, household items-That are a must like diapers, tissues, wipes…
    I am pretty sure that doesnt leave you with much – AND I DIDNT INCLUDE FOOD-SHABBOS, YOM TOV ect

  • 30. Sucker aka Taxpayer wrote:

    It’s nice to know that there are some people in CH who actually WORK and PAY TAXES on the books!! The Frum community in general needs to learn that it’s no mitzva to get on the government handout list for medicaid, food stamps, etc. Sign me as…

    One of the suckers who pays one third of my income in taxes

  • 31. Nobama wrote:

    19, I seriously hope you are joking.

    The US dollar says: In G-d we trust

    EBT cards should say: We trusted Obama


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