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House farm bill - Food aid vs. farmer support

House farm bill - Food aid vs. farmer support

By Blake Jackson

The House of Representatives proposed a landmark $1.5 trillion Farm Bill, but the legislation faces criticism for potential cuts to food assistance programs. While the bill aims to bolster the agricultural sector, it includes a reduction in funding for the Thrifty Food Program, which helps determine SNAP benefits for low-income families.

Justification for Cuts:

The proposed cuts target what the bill calls an "overreach" by the Executive branch in 2021 that increased SNAP benefits. The goal is to return funding to pre-2021 levels, potentially leading to a $30 billion reduction in Thrifty Food Program benefits over a decade.

Impact on New Yorkers:

This has raised concerns about food insecurity in New York. With rising food costs, a recent survey by No Kid Hungry New York found that 85% of respondents struggle to afford groceries. Reduced SNAP benefits could further limit access to healthy food for many families.

Seeking a Compromise:

New York representatives like Marc Molinaro, who previously relied on food stamps, advocate for a balanced approach. He highlights that the Farm Bill significantly funds nutrition programs. While the House bill doesn't reduce overall SNAP benefits, it cuts funding used to calculate those benefits.

The Next Steps:

The Farm Bill awaits the Senate's version and potential amendments. Public feedback will also be considered before finalization.

Current Situation:

The previous Farm Bill expired in 2023 but was extended. The new legislation aims to find a solution that supports both agricultural producers and food-insecure families.

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