Lawmakers in both chambers of US Congress have reportedly reached a deal to cut almost $9 billion from the food stamp program on which nearly 47 million Americans rely to afford food.
The cuts to the program, which will affect nearly a million households over the next decade, are part of multi-year farm bill which sets spending levels for federal agriculture and food policy.
The giant piece of legislation is expected to get a vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, after which it will be subject to a vote in the Senate.
The cuts are a compromise between nearly $40 billion in cuts to the program approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a $4 billion reduction approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has already undergone a $5 billion cut when a temporary increase in food stamp dollar expired on Nov. 1.
A household of three lost $29 in food aid per month as a result of the cuts that left each person to spend an average of $1.40 per meal.
The new farm bill, on which lawmakers across the aisle have agreed, will save around $23 billion over a decade.
American doctors and food banks across the country have already warned against the consequences of the planned cuts to the programs.
According to the American medical community, increased rates of diabetes and developmental problems for young children are among the health risks of hunger which would be a direct result of cutting funding for the SNAP.
Food banks also face an increase in the number of their visitors and say they have to turn people seeking help away because they do not have enough supplies.
“Make no mistake, if the food stamp program is cut, we’re going to see much longer lines of people seeking help with their food budgets, and we can’t help them all,” said Nancy E. Roman, executive director at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.
Margarette Purvis, the president of the Food Bank for New York City, the largest food bank in the US, has also warned against the cuts, saying “devastating cuts [to the SNAP] have pushed thousands of low-income New Yorkers and emergency food providers to the very brink of survival.”