As we head into the home stretch of the presidential election, Congress is working on the budget. Much of the work is now being done in committees, and over the next months we’ll see a lot of extreme Republican proposals, Democratic pledges to halt them, and all the politics that precedes an actual budget.
But the direction of the Republicans, particularly in the House, is clear: the safety net is up for grabs. Food stamps are part of the country’s agriculture policy, so they are competing with farm subsidies for whatever cuts come from the agriculture committee. Not surprisingly, the committee proposed dramatic cuts to SNAP (the food stamp program), and those were promptly approved by the congressional panel working on the full budget cut proposal.
Safety net programs have been steadily underfunded, and devolved to state and local governments, over the past two decades. The impacts of those cuts on local governments, who are left struggling with rising need for such programs, are already being deeply felt.