House committee votes to cut billions from food stamps program


The House Agriculture Committee voted this week to uphold billions of dollars in cuts to the food stamp program contained in their latest version of the Farm Bill. A key Republican and member of the Wisconsin delegation argues the cuts are needed.

In an effort to pass a leaner Farm Bill, lawmakers have been considering places to scale back funding, including the food stamp program. Nearly 15% of the state’s residents are enrolled, so any major cut would likely be felt in the state. Representative Reid Ribble of Sherwood sits on the committee and voted to keep the cuts in place. He says rising employment means less people need food assistance. “Unemployment has gone from a little over ten percent in 2009 down to 8.2% today,” he says. “There’s a reflection there of fewer potential families needing food stamps.

But experts say having a job doesn’t mean one’s ready for self sufficiency. Lori Graff is the director of the La Crosse County Human Services financial office. “A large number of the individuals receiving foodshare are employed they’re not making a wage that’s high enough,” she says.

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It is unclear when the full house will take up the Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expires in September.