Food stamps are a point of contention in America, with many opposing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as a wasteful and bloated drain on the budget.
In America, about 15 percent of citizens in a slowly recovering economy rely on food stamps to obtain necessary groceries — but not diapers, toilet paper or toothpaste. The SNAP program covers edible items only, and in most cases, strictly excludes pre-prepared foods, like rotisserie chicken.
The Washington Post took a long look at food stamps and their raw stats this week, as a farm bill without food stamp funding passed in the House. According to the paper, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia overall have more SNAP recipients per capita, while California, New Jersey, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming have lower-than-average rates of food stamp use.
It feels a bit politically ironic that 47 million Americans receive food stamps, and 47 percent of those are children. But support or lack thereof tends to fall on specific political lines, and the New York Timesquotes Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger as saying:
Today’s vote is the latest smoking gun that the House majority isn’t truly interested in deficit reduction… They’re interested in supporting special interest groups over hungry Americans.
Monsignor John Enzler, president of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington, told the Post:
“What I see every day is how much food stamp programs mean to people on the edge… I tried to live on what food stamps give you for a week last year and I couldn’t do it, but it does make enough of a difference to allow people to stay in their apartments, and pay medical expenses and take care of their children.”
Nancy Pelosi says:
To take food out of the mouths of babies? What are you thinking?… Or are you thinking?
No House Democrats voted for the farm bill excluding food stamps, and it passed without any votes from that side of the aisle.