Concerns over possible deeper cuts to the Farm Bill
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
Thursday night the Senate passed a farm bill that is estimated to cut the deficit by almost $24 billion. If passed, the law would end direct payments to farmers and use tax payer subsidized crop insurance for farmers in need. It also save $4.5 billion by making changes to the food stamp program.
The Senate's version of the farm bill would cut $4.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP, which is formally the food stamp program. This could impact 500,000 families across the country and if these cuts get deeper, families right here in eastern Iowa.
With bi-partisan support the new version of the farm bill passed the Senate. This bill is huge and the budget for it is $1 trillion.
Barb Prather the Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank says the current bill is acceptable.
"Here locally we like the Senate version of the farm bill. We don't want to see deeper cuts. There are proposals that I am hearing of everything the bill hasn't been marked up that there could be potentially by deeper cuts to snap which could effect the clients we serve and if that happens we will definitely see more people coming to food pantries across northeast Iowa," said Prather.
There are 14 states facing cuts to SNAP because of their current "Heat and Eat" policies.
The cut would limit state's ability to coordinated the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP and SNAP benefits. This would reduce SNAP benefits for those households also receiving LIHEAP assistance.
Prather says the SNAP benefits can have a big impact.
"For every dollar that is appropriated for snap benefits a $1.84 goes back to the community, so it is definitely an economic stimulator in the community and it also helps feed people."
The Northeast Iowa Food Bank will also receive food from the USDA through the farm bill. Over the next 10 years that program will receive $174 million for food assistance around the country.
The bill now goes to the house. A vote on this bill isn't expected to happen until mid-July.
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