WF Food Bank says Farm Bill Will Not Impact Texas SNAP Benefits

- That farm bill authorizes nearly $1-trillion in spending on farm subsidies and nutrition programs.

The bill is expected to reduce food stamp benefits.

The farm bill the house voted on would cut the food stamp program by $8-billion dollars and reduce monthly benefits to about 850,000 households across the county by about $90.

However, the head of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank says Texas recipients will not see those cuts.

The passage of the 2014 Farm Bill by the U.S. House of Representatives did not get enthusiastic response from the head of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank.

"It's absolutely horrifying that congress continues to pick on the poor and the weak to balance their budget.  These are people who really have no voice," says Mark McKethan, executive director of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank.

If the bill passes the U.S. Senate and is signed by the president it will result in a $90 cut in food stamp benefits to hundreds of thousands of Americans but McKethan says Texans will not be part of the group because he says the lone star state does not take part in a program called Heat and Eat.

"Heat and Eat is a program where subsidies for heating homes-- weatherizing homes, are lumped into SNAP benefits and there are thresholds of expenses and those thresholds have been raised that result in the cutback of the SNAP benefits," McKethan explains.

McKethan says a $5-billion dollar cut in the food stamp program this past November did impact Texas recipients, who saw their benefits cut an average of $36 dollar a month.

He says that caused a surge of people to turn to the food bank for help and he predicts that will continue.

"I think what we're going to see is a rush on our food pantries earlier in the month as benefits run out faster and we may see situation where a food pantry may have been open once a month may have to open twice a month in order to meet the need," McKethan adds.

McKethan says the November cut in food stamps had the food bank seeing an 8% increase in demand.

As for the Farm Bill, it now goes to the Senate for a vote.

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