AirTalk for June 20, 2013

Why did food stamps help spell doom for Farm Bill?

Activists Protest House Farm Bill Plan To Cut Food Assistance Program

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Tom Camarello with Progressive Democrats of America and members from several other organizations hold a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The protestors were asking the congressman to vote against a House farm bill that would reduce federal spending on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program by $20.5 billion and affect food stamps and other services for the poor.

After intense battles this week, today lawmakers in the House rejected the latest version of the Farm Bill. A major part of the fight has been over the food stamp program -- known locally as CalFresh and nationally as SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program). Amendments have see-sawed, but there was the possibility of billions of dollars in cuts over five years to the nearly $80-billion-a-year program.

California Rep. Janice Hahn (D - 44) called the proposed cuts harsh and she wrote that 145,000 people in her district rely on SNAP, half of whom are children. Conservative lawmakers says the cuts tried to address the massive expansion of SNAP that now feeds one in seven Americans. Local advocates for the program say 1.1 million Angelenos use CalFresh for their food needs.

Why have rolls ballooned in recent years? Who uses the program? Is there a better way?

Guests:
Jim Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center - described as a top advocacy organization focused on hunger and malnutrition public policies

Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow specializing in domestic policy, Heritage Foundation - described as a think tank dedicated to conservative public policies based on free enterprise and limited government


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