$16 million in cuts proposed for food stamp program - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

$16 million in cuts proposed for food stamp program

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Amarillo, TX - More than 300,000 Texans could lose food stamp benefits if the federal government cuts a proposed $16 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

SNAP is funded through Senate Bill 3240, familiarly known as the Farm Bill, which must be renewed every five years and is set to expire September 30th.

The main proposed changes to the bill would eliminate the automatic eligibility of anyone receiving any other kind of federal assistance.

According to a report the Department of Agriculture released in June, a record 46.7 million people nationwide were receiving food stamps, with more than 63,000 in Texas.

Zach Wilson of the High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo says the local impact could be significant, as meeting the demands of those denied could place added strain on the food bank, saying, "It will have a direct impact not only with the people having to leave the program or getting kicked off because of the cuts, but at the same time, that's going to put a tremendous strain, even more so, on the Food Bank and all of our partner agencies, who are already seeing a decline in food overall for the year."

Proponents of the changes, including District 13 Representative Mac Thornberry, say making eligibility requirements more stringent could help curb the rapid growth of the program.

SNAP participation has been growing since 2001, nearly doubling in the last four years.

For more information on eligibility, SNAP, and the Farm Bill, follow the links attached to this story.