WASHINGTON – The House Agriculture Committee approved budget cuts Friday that would take food stamps away from an estimated 300,000 people and cut off school lunches and breakfasts for 40,000 children.
The action came as the government reported that the number of people who are hungry because they can’t afford to buy enough food rose to 38.2 million in 2004, an increase of 7 million in five years. The number represents nearly 12 percent of U.S. households.
The cuts, approved by the Republican-controlled committee on a party-line vote, are part of an effort by the House GOP to curb federal spending by $50 billion. The food and agriculture cuts would reduce spending by $3.7 billion, including $844 million on nutrition, $760 million on conservation and $212 million on payments to farmers.
The $574 million reduction in food stamp spending would affect families who receive food stamps because they receive other non-cash government assistance. The change is estimated to shut as many as 300,000 people out of the program.
The restriction also could take free meals away from an estimated 40,000 schoolchildren.