The House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that cut $39 billion from the food stamp program, igniting fury among Democrats.
Opponents of the move claimed that families, seniors, and veterans would be hurt, and the White House has now threatened a veto.
Republicans immediately drew fire from the Obama administration, the Senate, and Democrats in the House. The bill did not have a single bipartisan vote, and with 15 moderate Republicans siding with the left, blame for its passage rests solely on the conservative caucus.
Though the bill will never make it through the Senate, it has given talking heads yet another reason to pile on the big, bad House Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed that the bill was basically “snatching food out of the hands” of the poor, while other opponents argued against the measure’s “heartless” nature. And although $39 billion does seem like a serious hit, the House bill is not nearly as devastating as some have made it out to be.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has more than doubled its spending since 2008, when President Obama was elected to office. At this point, one in seven Americans uses food stamps. Much of that growth is thanks to a 2009 measure that waived work requirements in exchange for SNAP benefits; prior to that, “able-bodied adults” could only use food stamps for three months in a three-year period if they did not work or worked less than 20 hours a week.