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Groups Oppose Cuts to SNAP Benefits


Monday, October 9, 2017   

DENVER – Groups that advocate for children, the elderly and people with disabilities are rolling up their sleeves in the wake of the budget passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The measure includes $150 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, over the next decade.

Joël McClurg, director of public policy with Hunger Free Colorado, says slashing social programs to make room for tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Americans would directly impact Colorado's most vulnerable residents.

"Any cuts to this program means that ultimately what you're going to have to do is make a decision about which children, or which elderly, or which disabled Americans are still eligible for benefits and which of those populations – which comprise the vast majority of the food stamp program – will no longer be eligible for benefits," he states.

A recent analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy of the GOP's proposal found 60 percent of the tax cuts would go to Coloradans making more than $500,000 a year, and people who make $1 million a year would see a boost in their after-tax income of $170,000 on average.

Proponents of cutting SNAP benefits maintain vulnerable populations still will receive benefits, and argue the goal is to encourage more people to join the workforce.

McClurg points out jobs that pay a living wage are especially hard to find in rural parts of the country still recovering from the Great Recession.

He adds over half of families that get food stamps are working, and the majority of recipients, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, are not expected to work.

"It's really important to reach out to your members of Congress and to let them know how you're feeling about these nutrition assistance programs,” McClurg stresses. “Because in Colorado, in 2016, 235,000 food stamp recipients were children who need that assistance to really build that strong foundation."

The Republican budget also calls for $10 billion in Farm Bill cuts, which McClurg notes would disproportionately affect food stamps.

Colorado's delegation voted along party lines, with the exception of Republican Ken Buck, who joined Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis in voting against the proposal.

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