Farm Bill stalled; lawmakers can't agree on cuts

A contentious issue at the federal level is trickling down and could affect thousands of people here in Mid-Michigan.

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a five-year Farm Bill mainly because democrats and republicans cannot come to terms when it comes to cutting spending.

Many democrats are refusing to cut funding to the program that helps feed one in seven Americans; food stamps or the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) program.

The five-year, half trillion dollar piece of legislation would have cut $2 billion from the food stamp program each year.

For local non-profits, they say the cuts would hurt them as well.

"This is probably the worst time of the year for anything to happen to food stamps," said Jon Manse of the North End Soup Kitchen in Flint.

The worst time because during the Summer months, Manse said the soup kitchen experiences a 25% increase in people coming through the doors.

Recently, Manse said, the kitchen has fed between 700-900 people in one day.

"We all celebrate the first week of the month every month because people are getting their food stamps and checks so it gives us a little bit of a break," said Manse.

But with cuts to food stamps, Manse said it would hurt their pocketbook.

"You add the burden of people not getting food stamps it's going to be worse."

Members of both parties oppose the cuts including U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, who recently lived on a food stamp budget for one week along with 25 other legislators.

"The idea that the Congress would honestly be contemplating cutting the program that stands between people starving or surviving in a time of great wealth and prosperity in most parts of the country to me is a shame."

But Republican lawmakers like U.S. Rep. Dave Damp, (R)-Midland, said the bill cuts wasteful spending and looks out for the taxpayer.

In a statement, Rep. Camp states, "The 2013 Farm Bill saves american taxpayers $40 billion and includes important reforms to outdated government programs to efficiently support Michigan farmers."

The stalled bill makes matters difficult for farmers across the country.

The U.S. Senate has already passed its own version of the Farm Bill, backed by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.