February 3, 2014

Why on earth are Democrats agreeing to SNAP cuts that affect people in their states?

Daily Kos:

SNAP benefits paid to recipients in 16 states and the District of Columbia are targeted by new budget cutting legislation proposed in Congress by a bipartisan conference made up of members from the House and Senate.

It's complicated, but it comes down to the idea that 16 states linked federal subsidies for heating costs with SNAP benefits, so that people who qualified for the heating subsidy would receive more in food assistance. That's the target of the cut.


It’s difficult to defend the practice of giving people higher benefits for supposedly paying bills they don’t, in fact, pay. Having said that, it’s also the case that the basic SNAP benefit is too low, as evidenced by the hardship that has emerged since the November 1 end of the temporary SNAP benefit increase that the 2009 Recovery Act provided. And the 4 percent of households whose benefits would fall as a result of curtailing this practice are low-income households, not affluent ones.

Optimally, policymakers would curtail this practice and use the proceeds to raise SNAP’s basic benefit level (though raising it by a meaningful amount would cost far more than $8 billion over ten years). Or, policymakers could use the proceeds to strengthen another part of SNAP’s benefit structure, such as by lifting the cap on the maximum shelter deduction that a household is allowed. Eliminating the cap would enable households that pay an exorbitant share of their income for rent and utilities to deduct the full amount by which those costs exceed 50 percent of their disposable income.

Here's the thing. It's true that these proposed cuts are less draconian than the insane House proposal to cut $40 billion from the SNAP program. But this is how Republicans win. They propose insane policies, and then pretend like Democrats won something by cutting programs that directly affect those who can least afford it.

Democrats, it's not winning to cut benefits so people have to choose between heating and eating. Please sign the petition to tell Senators to reject these cuts.

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