- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2013

Food-stamp benefits were cut Friday for about 48 million Americans, a move that the White House is decrying as an unnecessary blow to the poor forced by House Republicans.

A temporary, $5-billion-per-year boost in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has expired. The Obama administration had added the extra funds in the 2009 stimulus act as food stamp rolls swelled to record numbers during the severe recession.

Roughly one in seven Americans are now enrolled in SNAP, and the cuts will reduce food-stamp benefits by 13.6 percent, or about $36 less per month for a family of four, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Negotiations on a farm bill, including cuts to the SNAP program, began Wednesday in Congress. The House and Senate have passed five-year-farm bills that would cut food stamps even further, but the chambers are far apart on the level of cuts, with the House proposing deeper cuts.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the food-stamp reductions “come at a time when many hardworking American families are still struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the worst recession in decades.”

“Last year, the additional resources provided by the SNAP program lifted 7 million people out of poverty,” Mr. Carney said, adding that President Obama has proposed an extension of the increased benefits until March 2014.

“That is why … the strategy currently underway in the House to reduce SNAP by removing millions of low-income families from the program does not make sense,” Mr. Carney said.

In fiscal 2012, the average food-stamp benefit per person was about $133 per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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