Food Stamp Cuts Take Effect

By Chris Lehman

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

The cut is really the end of a temporary boost that was enacted at the beginning of the recession. Congress is allowing that extra assistance to expire. For a family of four, that means a cut of $36 a month in benefits. Nearly 18% of the combined population of Oregon, Washington and Idaho receive food stamps. And those stats don't tell the whole story, says Kathy Gardner. She's the director of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force.

Kathy Gardner: "In Idaho, over three-quarters of the people on food stamps have children. They're families with children."

Households with kids also make up a sizeable chunk of those receiving supplemental food assistance in Oregon and Washington. Congressional Democrats have proposed preserving the extra food stamp funding but Republicans in the U.S. House have said no. GOP lawmakers say the increased benefits were meant to be temporary.

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