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Canned food and fork
House Republicans aren't telling all the details of their plan to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10 years, but the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has taken a look at the information that is available and rounded up some of the bad news. The CBPP estimates that the cuts would deny food aid to "at least four million to six million low-income people, including some of the nation’s poorest adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages."

Republicans will talk a big game about adding "work requirements" to SNAP. In fact, SNAP has work requirements, in the form of a three-month limit for childless unemployed adults to receive benefits, unless they live in an area with such high unemployment that their state has gotten a waiver for it. So what would these so-called work requirements really do?

In reality, they would terminate basic food assistance to people who would take any job or job training opportunity offered but cannot find one; the proposal doesn’t require states to provide jobs or job training and includes no added funds for these activities. And, though proponents stress the need to promote work, the proposal cuts assistance to low-income working families who struggle to afford food.

Proponents’ rhetoric about the importance of work also ignores the fact that most SNAP recipients who can work do work. More than 80 percent of SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult worked in the year before or after receiving SNAP.

These provisions could cut food stamps for 170,000 veterans, by the way. Children in families without working adults could also lose their food stamps through these and other provisions.

Reducing fraud is another thing Republicans like to talk about when they're slashing government programs. Yet the House SNAP cuts would eliminate performance bonuses for states that do well at reducing error rates. Combine that with the refusal to raise the minimum wage and benefit cuts to working families and you see that all the yelling about fraud and work requirements is just a smokescreen for punishing poor people.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 01:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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