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Spending bill: Senate debate trying to cut emergency funds for summer food aid

The $1.7 trillion spending bill currently being discussed in the Senate on Wednesday is a major victory for child nutrition advocates, but it comes at a cost.

During the summer months, the measure would make healthful meals more accessible to millions of children. To offset the cost of the expanded benefits, however, Congress will slash funding for food assistance programs for Americans who are food insecure.

Spending Bill Still On Senate Debate

Tuesday, the Senate voted 70-25 to begin debate on the 4,155-page omnibus bill that would fund major components of President Biden’s economic strategy. 

Among other provisions, it would increase funding for defense programs, expand Medicaid, encourage Americans to save for retirement, and send an additional $44.9 billion in the emergency military and economic aid to Ukraine.

The child nutrition benefits would be the first new, permanent government food assistance program of this magnitude to be implemented in half a century, according to proponents. 

Beginning in the summer of 2024, they would implement a debit card program that gives low-income families with an inflation-adjusted monthly food benefit of $40 per child. 

If a child qualifies for free or reduced-cost school meals and is automatically enrolled, he or she would be eligible for these benefits.

Read more: SSA, USDA will soon allow SSI beneficiaries to apply for SNAP benefits

SNAP Benefits And Summer Meal For Children

SNAP-Social Security-Stimulus Checks-Food-Finance-Money
The $1.7 trillion spending package currently being discussed in the Senate on Wednesday is a major victory for child nutrition advocates, but it comes at a cost.

Advocates applauded the adjustments but decried the loss of SNAP and school lunch benefits designed to assist families during a health emergency. In order to pay for the new benefits, lawmakers deemed the reductions necessary. 

According to campaigners, the changes will have a disproportionately negative impact on the aged poor, who typically have smaller households and larger resources, and are therefore eligible for reduced food assistance subsidies.

She stated that beginning in March 2023, recipients of all ages will lose benefits, with families losing an average of $82 per person each month. But the largest loss would be for older persons at the lowest benefit level, whose monthly SNAP benefits would drop from $281 to $23.

Read more: SNAP benefits requirements: Here’s a definitive list of income standards you need to meet in each state

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