The House of Representatives passed a compromise farm bill Wednesday, which among other provisions will makes some cuts to food stamps. The deal includes $8.6 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
In a conversation with WYSO's Emily McCord, Senator Sherrod Brown says the bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than the $40 billion cut Republicans originally wanted and that legislation will grow the agricultural industry.
"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," says Brown.
Another point emphasized by Brown is that Ohioans will not be impacted by these SNAP cuts. 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 isn't 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," says Hamler-Fugitt.
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.