Reduced Food Stamp Benefits

With cuts to food stamp benefits starting tomorrow – by some estimates totaling $5 billion just a few weeks before the start of the holiday season – we have yet another  issue about to show more face.

“Congress has the power to stop the cutbacks,” CNNMoneyreported last week, “but experts say that’s highly unlikely at a time when Republicans are calling for even more drastic cuts to food stamps, which benefits were bumped up in the midst of the recession… The temporary provision expires Nov. 1, and families nationwide have already received emails and letters warning that their benefits were going to be reduced.

“Some 47.6 million people --  or nearly 15% of the population – are now getting food stamps, according to September federal data,”  CNN’s article said. “That compares to 26.3 million, or 8.7% of the population, in 2007.”

Focus House Bill 3102 .

FoxNews yesterday morning now suggests “as House and Senate negotiators met for the first joint talks on the bill that includes sharp cuts to food-stamp funding, an open question was whether lawmakers would get serious about targeting fraud in the massive program.

“A recent inspector general audit suggested a full-blown crackdown on food stamp fraud could save $222 million a year,” the article said. “Food stamps, officially known as theSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are part of the larger farm bill, but are being dealt with through the House’s separateNutrition Reform and Work Opportunity bill. Among the anti-fraud measures in the bill is one that requires states to get tough on households that repeatedly ask for replacement EBT cards, which have largely replaced food stamps or vouchers as the method by which food is actually purchased at stores.”