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Congress Could Cut Food Stamp Program Funding

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA)- The House of Representatives may cut funding to the world's major food stamp program SNAP, or Supplemental Nutritional Food Program, which would take away food assistance to many Americans.

Government Affairs Director Dennis McManus and Chief Executive Officer Lisa Scales, both from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, along with Just Harvest Executive Director Ken Regal joined KDKA's Chris Moore to discuss the future of SNAP and what Pennsylvanians can do to become involved.

"Congress is considering cuts to the nutrition section of the Farm Bill which would impose major benefit cuts to those who use the SNAP food stamp program," McManus said.

Additionally, on Nov. 1, the Economic Recovery Act of 2009 that was put into place to temporarily increase benefits to SNAP during the economic recession will end.

"Over 330,000 people who receive SNAP will be affected," explained Scales. "There will be a much greater reliance on food banks and we will see many people who did not need help before who will need it now."

Regal stated that most of the people on food stamps are either elderly, have children, or have a disability.

"They are the most vulnerable citizens and if SNAP is cut, food will be taken off of their tables," said Scales.

When asked how citizens can stop the cuts, McManus said, "Call your congressman and review your medical and childcare deductions because they could mitigate some of the impact."

They are sponsoring a National Call-In Day on Sept. 17. By calling 1-866-456-8824, citizens just plug in their zip code and are then connected to their local congressman to vote against the SNAP cuts.

McManus said the estimated impact over eleven months would equal $33 million lost.

Congress is expected to vote on this issue by next week.


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