House Republicans Vote To Cut Food Stamp Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut almost $36 billion from the federal food stamps program in order to preserve the Pentagon budget from an automatic 10 percent cut that’s due to take effect because a supercommittee failed to reach an agreement on how to reduce the nation’s budget deficit last year.

The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would be accomplished through stricter enforcement of eligibility rules and a rollback of a 2009 benefit increase that would cost a family of four $57 per month.

“This plan ensures that we maintain our fiscal discipline and commitment to reducing out-of-control government spending, while making sure our top priority is national security,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The United States spends more money on its military than any other nation in the world. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2010 America spent $698 billion on its military in 2010, nearly six times the estimated amount spent by China and more than 11 times greater than the United Kingdom’s military budget. Overall, nations around the world spent an average of 2.6 percent of their gross domestic product on their military. The United States spent 4.8 percent.

“They are protecting the massive Pentagon budget with all its waste … and finding even deeper cuts in programs that benefit the people of this country,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “This bill before us would create a government where there is no conscience, where the wealthy and well-connected are protected and enriched — and the middle class, the poor and the vulnerable are essentially forgotten.”

Even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that he was against the House measure because “it’s not balanced, it’s not fair and ultimately the Senate isn’t going to accept it either.”

The Republican majority in the House of Representatives was able to pass the legislation 218-199, with just 16 Republicans joining Democrats in opposition to it. However, in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the bill is considered dead on arrival. President Barack Obama has also threatened to veto it.

Democrats are hoping to force Republicans to compromise on deficit reduction measures that will include tax increases for the wealthy and reductions in tax breaks for businesses as well as some spending cuts.

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