U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas defends food stamp reductions to protect military spending
In House debate, Oklahoma chairman of Agriculture Committee says the food stamp cuts target waste and abuse, but Democrats say 2 million poor people would lose benefits.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Frank Lucas on Thursday adamantly defended proposed reductions to the food stamp program as the Republican-led House passed a bill to protect the Department of Defense from automatic cuts included in the debt-ceiling agreement last summer.
The House bill, which passed 218-199, would cut spending by about $243 billion and spare the Pentagon from the cuts looming in January. All four Republicans from Oklahoma voted for the bill; Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee,
Democrats charged that Republicans targeted programs that help the poor rather than asking wealthy individuals and companies to pay higher taxes.
Lucas, R-Cheyenne, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said his committee chopped $33 billion out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps — by making “credible, common sense reforms” to reduce waste and abuse and close
Lucas said the program grew 270 percent over the past 10 years but that his committee had proposed cuts amounting only to 4 percent over the next 10 years. None of the changes, he said, would prevent families that qualify for food stamps from receiving the benefits.
Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., said, “Cutting $33 billion means that more than 22 million households will see a cut in their benefit. This means 22 million families will have less food tomorrow than they do today.
“In fact, 2 million people would be cut from SNAP altogether. And 280,000 kids would lose access to free school meals. … If the bill before us becomes law, it will take food out of the mouths of
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