The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

CNHI Specials

October 29, 2013

Food-stamp benefits will drop 5% for recipients as stimulus ends

WASHINGTON — Congress is poised to let a temporary boost in food-stamp benefits end later this week for more than 47 million Americans.

The extra Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aid was included in the 2009 economic-stimulus law. The aid subsidizes purchases by lower-income families. Food-stamp spending reached a record $78.4 billion in fiscal 2012 as annual average enrollment climbed 77 percent from 2007, government data show.

Unless a change is enacted before Nov. 1 — and none is scheduled for a vote in Congress — benefits for a family of four will fall by $36 a month, according to the Department of Agriculture. At maximum benefit levels in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, that works out to 5.4 percent less for that family of four.

"It's not going to get any easier for any of our families on Nov. 1," said Sarah LeStrange, a spokeswoman for the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas in Austin, which serves 300,000 people a year. "They don't need that money less."

The drop in benefits is frustrating, LeStrange said.

"We can't tell people to call their representatives because it's too late," she said.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced a bill, H.R. 3108, to extend the aid increase through fiscal 2016. The measure, filed on Sept. 17, has 55 co-sponsors, all Democrats. It hasn't been scheduled for committee action.

Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, a member of a House- Senate panel working on a farm-subsidy bill that includes food stamps, H.R. 2642, said he expects no debate on reviving the higher level of benefits.

Ending the increase is settled and "it's the law," Conaway said.

Monthly enrollment for the aid peaked in December at 47.8 million and was 47.6 million in July, according to the most- recent USDA data. In 2007, about 26.3 million Americans received food stamps at a cost to taxpayers of about $33.2 billion, the data show.

Retailers such as supercenter operator Wal-Mart Stores and grocery discounters such as Aldi and SuperValu's Save-A-Lot chain benefit from the program, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis.

The House-Senate committee considering the larger legislation, known as the farm bill, is scheduled to meet for the first time on Wednesday. The two sides are furthest apart on funding food stamps.

Democrats who control the Senate would cut $4 billion over 10 years. Republicans who run the House would take out almost 10 times that much, $39 billion, over a decade. The House version also would require recipients to work or get job training, let states make drug testing a condition of eligibility and set food aid on a different authorization timeline from farm subsidies, a move to divorce food stamps from the farm bill entirely.

Though Democrats are now leading calls for the 2009 increase to be extended, the benefits were cut back to pay for other legislation by Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, according to a report from the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

1
Text Only
CNHI Specials
  • barbour021614.jpg No shows escaped death by Craigslist killer

    The young woman who says she was driven by satanic spirts to commit a cross-country murder spree over the last six years says authorities are not taking her claims seriously and that she tried to lured other central Pennslyvania men into her death snare with online companionship ads but they didn't show up.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • ent_jimmyfallon.jpg Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' debut: Social media reacts

    Jimmy Fallon kicked off a new era on "The Tonight Show" Monday night and garnered mostly positive reviews. Here's a sampling of reaction on social media.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • b_tuesday_eisenhower_20110405sg3371.jpg Augusta National removes 'Eisenhower Tree' after ice storm

    A 65-foot tree named after the nation's 34th president on the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club was removed over the weekend after sustaining "irreparable damage" during an ice storm at the home of the Masters Tournament.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140218-AMX-GUNS171.jpg Will smart guns transform the gun industry?

    One of California's largest firearm stores recently added a peculiar new gun to its shelves. It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ten-10-dollar-bill.jpg VIDEO: Groupon claims 'President Hamilton' promotion an intentional mistake

    Groupon says a President's Day promotion mis-identifying Alexander Hamilton as a U.S. President was an "intentional" humorous mistake.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Samoas, Thin Mints and business ethics

    But these lessons aren't learned when Scouts sell outside grocery stores or via mobile app, or, even worse, when parents ask their colleagues to purchase Girl Scout cookies, a query I recently received at a casual work lunch. My friend wasn't prepared for the lecture that followed. I'd be more than happy to buy cookies from his daughter, I said, but only if she called me on the phone to personally ask for the sale.

    February 15, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-02-14 at 12.27.23 PM.png VIDEO: Just how easy is it to buy a drone?

    Businesses can't wait for drone rules to be issued by the FAA. They really can't. Estimates on business drone usage are in the tens of thousands...and they're overwhelming the FAA, which is still trying to come up with rules for flying them.

    February 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 4.42.12 PM.png VIDEO: Man falls through golf shop ceiling; everyone plays it cool

    After a man falls through the ceiling of a professional golf shop both the patrons and the employees react as though everything is completely normal.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ClarkTheCub.jpg Clark the Cub takes his place among pro sports' worst mascots

    The Chicago Cubs have broken 138 years of mascot-free tradition by introducing Clark the Cub, who will entertain young fans at Wrigley Field beginning this season. Judging from reaction on the Internet, Clark instantly deserves a place on the list of pro sports' worst mascots. Here are our ideas for some other entries.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 4.09.29 PM.png VIDEO: Texting crash caught on dash cam

    A 23-year-old Florida man admitted he was texting behind the wheel when his car veered off the road and crashed into a tree.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
AP Video