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The House and Senate recently passed a bill that will reduce Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, ultimately reducing the food stamp budget by approximately $8 billion over the next 10 years. The reduction comes under the Farm Bill, in which President Obama signed into law last Friday (Feb. 7) at Michigan State University, according to the New York Times.  The bill was put into place in an effort to reduce the Federal budget deficit and grow the economy.

While the bill—previously proposed with a $40 billion reduction—expands crop insurance for agribusiness, it consequently affects low income communities like Philadelphia.

As of September 2013, according to the Hunger Coalition, almost 700,000 in the Philadelphia region use SNAP to buy groceries. The bill is projected to hurt not only veterans, seniors and children, but minorities and women, too, as African Americans are twice as likely to receive food stamps as Whites and women twice as likely as men.

What this means for the Tri-State area:

Advocates say poverty-stricken individuals might have to choose between paying rent and buying food—two essential factors to survival.

It’s not hard to understand this struggle with the rate of job growth a bit sluggish. Insufficient funds contribute to those who can’t afford to get to work or go to school. It also contributes to some reasons behind property crime. There have been over 3000 property crimes in Philadelphia alone over the past 30 days or so.

The push to prioritize SNAP continues as organizations like The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, currently working with Congress to reverse cuts in the future, fight to close the economical gap that divides that nation.

words by: Aliya Faust


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