Obama dines with Duggan, cuts food stamps

Feb 13, 2014 at 10:13 am

President Barack Obama flew to East Lansing Friday to deliver his spiel on the importance of the farm bill, a law spearheaded by Michigan’s U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow year-after-year.

But we here at the Hits have a hard enough time finding reason to leave our bed some days, so when the prez swung by to sign the bipartisan bill, we stood by until local news outlets broadcasted his remarks.

The farm bill, he told the crowd at Michigan State University, is intended to “make sure America’s children don’t go hungry.”

Obama says food stamps kept 5 million people out of poverty in 2012. But one thing we didn’t hear? How the bill he signed Friday concedes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $800 million a year, a program that aids one of every seven Americans, the Associated Press reports.

It’s unclear how much the cuts, about $8 billion over 10 years, will affect Michigan residents. But, as of Friday morning, it seemed to us that few news outlets were interested in the impact of the scaled-back Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. There was a considerable amount of attention, though, given to Obama’s planned lunch with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan before signing the bill.

Kareemah El-Amin, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, tells MLive that a decrease in benefits will likely increase demand at food banks, forcing limited resources to be spread among more people.

The bill Obama signed offers a softer blow than the leaders in the U.S. House wanted — $39 billion in cuts to the program over 10 years. But the version Obama signed at Michigan State University — after eating with Duggan (!) — will likely affect 1.7 million people across 15 states, with an average $90 per month in benefits being lost, The New York Times reports.

Perhaps it would’ve been best for Obama to save the dog-and-pony show and sign the bill in a private setting. At the very least, know this bill will have an effect on hundreds of thousands of households across the country who rely on the SNAP program.