Hungry? Get in line 

At least that’s the perception a lot of folks are getting since House members voted to slice $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Commonly known as food stamps, the SNAP decision by the GOP-controlled House would cause 3.8 million people to lose benefits while another 850,000 people would have their assistance reduced.

Republicans claim the program has expanded too much and the cost is too great. Oklahoma food shelters, who deal directly with the most hungry in our state, disagree.

“Many Oklahomans have joined us in the fight against hunger by donating food, funds, and their time to the Oklahoma Food Banks,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “However, charity alone cannot meet the need — committed public and private partnerships are the only way to truly solve the unconscionable problem of hunger across our nation.

This should include strong federal support for SNAP and other important safety net programs.”

We wonder if the 2008 recession had anything to do with that. What about massive layoffs across the country that forced people to enlist in the program just to survive and, quite literally, put food on the table?

The House measure has drawn plenty of criticism from Democrats and some Republicans who say the steep cuts would nearly eliminate a safety net depended upon by families with children, veterans, senior citizens and the unemployed.

The bill must still go before the U.S. Senate. If approved there, although that’s unlikely in its present form, the measure likely would be vetoed by President Obama.

Oklahoma is often called “one of the hungriest states in the nation.” More than 650,000 people struggle with hunger every day, Bivens said in a media release.

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