Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Food Stamps in the Farm Bill
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
ELMIRA -- (WENY) Lawmakers have been arguing over a new Farm Bill since the old one expired in 2012. A major reason is disagreement over Food Stamps.
The full Senate is expected to vote on a bill Monday. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand proposed an amendment to stop major slashes in food stamp benefits, but it was defeated.
These cuts impact senior citizens, people struggling to make ends meet working two jobs, single parents, the list goes on
According to the Chemung County Department of Social Services 7,700 households receive snap benefits, that's 15,000 people. People like Randi Quackenbush -- an Americorps volunteer living off an $11,000 stipend.
"You might see me in the grocery store on my iPhone and driving around in my parents car, but I am on Food Stamps," says Quackenbush. "And it's because of the support of my family that I'm able to survive on the stipend this year and the food stamps that are actually lifting me above the poverty line."
The Farm Bill headed for a vote in the Senate cuts four billion dollars from Food Stamp funding -- Otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- or SNAP.
"Many people think, 'Oh SNAP benefits, that's for people who don't really work hard in life or don't care about getting a job' that's not the case at all," says Pam Brown, Executive Director of the Chemung County Department of Aging.
Deretha Waterson is the Commissioner of Human Services for Chemung County. She's keeping a close eye on the farm bill, because she knows it'll have a major impact on her clients.
She says if these cuts go through, "Folks will have less money to spend on food and unless there are more jobs, which we all hope for, including the folks who receive food stamps, there will be more of a burden on our food pantries."
It could still take a month for the house to take up its version of the bill, which includes 20 billion dollars in SNAP cuts.