House passes bill with major cuts to food stamps

******************NOTE: The Associated Press misreported that the bill was defeated. Please disregard previous web post. The AP erroneously reported the House rejected the food stamp bill. In fact, the House passed the bill. A corrected version has moved. ******************

Federal lawmakers are in the midst of a heated debate over a program that keeps food on the table for millions of Americans.

Republicans and Democrats are at odds over House-approved cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that's helping feed more families than ever before.

Thursday, the House passed the bill that would cut nearly $4 billion annually from food stamps, a five percent reduction to the nation's main feeding program used by more than one in seven Americans.

Coy Jordan and his three kids depend on food assistance.

They, like many who benefit from lunch at Flint's North End Soup Kitchen struggle to make ends meet.

"Our rent is high then we got water bill and Consumer's bill and after that it's rough and it saves me and my kids a lot," said Kari McCracken of Davison.

McCracken receives $300 in SNAP benefits each month to feed her family.

But, the House's Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act threatens the SNAP benefits of more than four-million Americans.

On the house floor Thursday, Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, said, "this bill would shamefully and literally take food out of the mouths of literally four million children, seniors and disabled."

Opponents of the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act said the cuts are too drastic and the nation's economic climate is improving.

GOP leaders report the cost of SNAP benefits has doubled since 2008.

The 217-210 vote was a win for conservatives after Democrats united in opposition and some GOP moderates said the cut was too high.

"What the Republicans have been doing in Congress, they have long-term in mind. They want to push for cuts in social programs even though it might be restored. But in the long run they stake out a very far right position," said UM Flint associate professor, Jason Kosnoski, Ph.D.

Senator Debbie Stabenow says the Republican-backed bill will face a tough fight in the U.S. Senate.

One in seven Americans uses food stamps.