Congress is back in Washington, meaning that the House of Representatives will soon be able to resume its cherished function in our democracy: casting symbolic votes to slash federal spending on the poor. In particular, Majority Leader Eric Cantor is pushing a Republican plan to cleave at least $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—aka food stamps—over the next ten years, a reduction the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says would push some 4 to 6 million Americans off its rolls.
As The New York Times noted in a weekend editorial, the GOP is making this crusade at a time when some 14.5 percent of U.S. households are having trouble putting meals on the table due to their finances. That's according to a new report this month from the Department of Agriculture, which found the rate of food insecurity last year was essentially unchanged from 2011. About 5.7 percent of households suffered from "very low food security," meaning among other things that they were actually forced to cut portion sizes or entire meals for lack of cash.
Households dealing with food insecurity don't necessarily suffer day in and day out. Rather, they might be dealing with these issues intermittently, or a few days out of every month.