The unfortunate truth is that enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has doubled in the wake of the global recession of 2009 as incomes plummeted (which now average $133 per month) and more Americans qualified for benefits.
Another sad truth is that 83% of SNAP's beneficiaries are children, elderly or disabled.
Despite this the Republicans would still enact their bill all the while claiming it would help more people "find jobs" and stop freeloaders from "sponging" off the taxpayers.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) blathered that "Most people want a job. Most people want to go out and be productive so that they can earn a living, so that they can support a family, so that they can have hope for a more prosperous future. They want what we want."
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) says: "… you can no longer sit on your couch or ride a surfboard like Jason (Greenslate) in California and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you."
And proving Republicans are always ready to quote the bible when it suits them Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) citied the Book of Genesis preaching that "Work is a blessing."
On top of the brutal cuts to funding the Republicans also insisted the bill include requirements to those enrolled to pass income and asset tests to "prove their poverty". Another measure Republicans insisted the bill include would allow states to require drug testing on those who are qualified to benefit from the program.
Democrats called the House measure a useless assault on America's poor and in need.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) exclaimed that "Today's exercise is nothing more than a waste of our time and an insult to every American in need". Fudge added that the bill "guts nutrition for those most in need and says to the poor, to hungry children, to the disabled, seniors and our veterans, 'You don't matter, you are not worthy of our help.' They deserve better."
One member of congress, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), used a steak, a bottle of vodka and a jar of caviar as props to highlight what she said was hypocritical spending in Congress. She lamented that some members of Congress (Republicans) voting to cut food stamps "travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business. They dine at lavish restaurants eating steak, vodka and even caviar. They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals… Yet for them, the idea of helping fellow Americans spend less than $5 a day makes their skin crawl”.
The final vote tally was 217 to 210. 217 Republicans voted for the bill while only 15 Republicans voted against it. Not a single Democrat voted for the bill.
The White House has repeatedly said it would veto the House GOP's food stamp demands.
Here are some eye opening and upsetting facts about our country's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits:
• 76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person.
• These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.
• SNAP eligibility is limited to households with gross income of no more than 130% of the federal poverty guideline, but the majority of households have income well below the maximum.
• 83% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 100% of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013), and these households receive about 91% of all benefits.
• 61% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 75% of the poverty guideline ($14,648 for a family of 3 in 2013)
• The average SNAP household has a gross monthly income of $744; net monthly income of $338 after the standard deduction and, for certain households, deductions for child care, medical expenses, and shelter costs; and countable resources of $331, such as a bank account.
• Error rates for the SNAP Program declined by 57% since FY2000, from 8.91% in FY2000 to a record low of 3.80% in FY2011. The accuracy rate of 96.2% (FY2011) is an all-time program high and is considerably higher than other major benefit programs such as Medicare fee-for-service (91.5%) or Medicare Advantage Part C (88.6%).