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To Save $10 Billion, Cut Subsidies for Big Ag, Not Nutrition for Kids and Seniors

WASHINGTON - Want to save the taxpayers $10 billion?

Last week, the House Budget Committee approved its fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, which directs the House Agriculture Committee to identify at least $10 billion in cuts over 10 years. Most of these cuts would come from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

In addition, the budget resolution envisions an even more staggering $150 billion cut to SNAP over 10 years, based on structural changes to the program in the future.

These proposed cuts to food assistance would have serious impacts on rural Americans, according to analysis by the Center for Rural Affairs. In 2014, the Center reported that about one-in-six households in rural areas receive SNAP benefits, compared to about one-in-nine households in metropolitan areas. A greater percentage of rural SNAP households are home to at least one person under 18 or over 60, when compared to SNAP households in big cities.

Too bad the House budget didn’t follow the Department of Agriculture’s advice to cut “Cadillac” crop insurance policies. Modest reforms like capping crop insurance subsidies would save taxpayers $28 billion over 10 years and preserve a strong safety net for producers, without harming rural communities.

While millions of rural Americans – including millions of elderly people and children – depend on SNAP, two-thirds of farmers are ineligible for farm subsidies. Most subsidies flow to the largest and most successful farmers.

So, if Congress wants to save $10 billion, legislators should cut subsidies, not SNAP.


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