This Week in Poverty: Republicans Define 'Lower-Priority Spending'

The Nation

May 11, 2012


When Republican Congressman Paul Ryan released his budget, he charged six House committees with finding $309 billion in spending cuts over ten years in order to avert $55 billion in military cuts scheduled for January 2013 under a bipartisan agreement. He wrote that these cuts would be found in “lower-priority spending.” This means a $36 billion cut in food stamps (SNAP), which largely helps the elderly, disabled people, children and the working poor. Two million people would lose their benefits entirely and 44 million would have their benefits reduced—the current average benefit is $4 per person per day. Two hundred and eighty thousand low-income children would also lose automatic access to free school breakfast and lunch. The bill also cuts the SNAP employment and training program by 72 percent, making it more difficult for jobless recipients to find work. It’s important to note that SNAP kept 5 million people from poverty in 2010 and reduced poverty rates by 8 percent in 2009.
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