Last year, one in seven Americans relied on government benefits through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides millions of dollars to food stamps every year.
There are actually two House bills. One in the US House and one in the Senate. In both, the government would trim millions from SNAP.
Some cuts could be made in part by cutting an eligibility category in some states that mandates automatic food stamp benefits when people sign up for some other programs.
Hannibal resident Sharon Smith says if her food stamps are cut, she doesn't know what she would do to provide for her family.
"The food stamps allows me to fix a full-blown meal, a decent meal," said Smith.
Hannibal resident Mary Campen says she's in the same boat.
"People need that to live on. People like me and my friend here," said Campen. "We need this. And I couldn't do without it."
But some lawmakers in the House argue that the cuts are small relative to the size of the program and that people who qualify for the aid can still sign up for it. They just wouldn't be automatically enrolled.
The cost of the program has more than doubled since 2008. The number of recipients rose rapidly because of economic downturn, rising food prices, and expanded eligibility under the 2009 Economic Stimulus Law.
NECAC's Lewis County Service Coordinator Judy Eaton says the list of names to the program is rising in the tri-states as well.
"It was kind of that combination of job loss. You know, every year we have more of the population become elderly and so it was just a circumstance that the need is there and they were eligible," said Eaton.
The cuts are part of massive legislation that costs almost $100 billion annually over five years and would set policy for farm subsidies, rural programs and the food aid.
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