Rogers says food stamps funding should come up before congressional recess in August

07/15/2013 08:50 AM

Congress should take up the funding bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture that includes funding for the food stamps program before Congress breaks for its August recess, said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset.

Rogers, who chairs the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, represents the 5th Congressional District in Eastern Kentucky — one of the poorest districts in the nation.

More than 62,000 households in the district rely on food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. That’s about double the number of households in the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts. The next highest is more than 38,000 in western Kentucky’s 1st District, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures.

The median income of those households in Rogers’ district that rely on the program is $10,891 — by far the lowest in the state.

Funding for the program has doubled to $80 billion since 2008. And Rogers said that amount will be cut back because of across-the-board federal funding reductions.

“Like everything else things are being trimmed back and there will be some trimming of the food stamps program but not significantly. I don’t think it will have an adverse impact on my district,” Rogers said.

Overall, 778,114 Kentuckians relied on the program in Fiscal Year 2010. The Ag Department said the benefits generated as much as $9 in total economic activity for every $5 spent because the families using food stamps otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford — and thus, spend money — on food at local stores.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said members of Congress need to get their act together and pass something before the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30.


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