CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - The House has voted to cut nearly $4 billion a year from food stamps, a 5 percent reduction to the nation's main feeding program used by more than 1 in 7 Americans.
The 217-210 vote was a win for conservatives after Democrats united in opposition and some GOP moderates said the cut was too high.
Forty seven million people across the country rely on the food stamp program, SNAP, to feed their families but the programs cost has more than doubled over the last five years and now some lawmakers want to make cuts; an idea that's not going over well with everyone.
"Maybe they should cut their salaries instead of taking away from people from eating. Especially with the price of groceries nowadays, it's ridiculous," said Tracie Massa in West Springfield.
"No, I think that would be wrong, I think that the people who need food stamps should have access to them and if we have to cough up a little bit of money, it's no big deal," said West Springfield's Paul Skowera.
House Republicans had proposed cutting nearly 4 billion dollars from the 80 billion dollar a year program, a 5% reduction.
The bill's savings would have been achieved by allowing states to implement broad work requirements for recipients and test them for drugs.
Cashiers at Fruit Fair in Chicopee say they have a number of customers who utilize their food stamps every week.
"It would hurt them for sure, a lot of them because the people I see that come in, they need them you know, they need the food stamps," said Fruit Fair Cashier Mildred Paradysz.
Republicans emphasized that the bill targets able-bodied adults who don't have dependents, cutting fraud or misuse is something some say is the only way they'd support the measure.
"They should do that more strictly because there's a lot of people who don't need it but they abuse the dollars," said Sophie Giza of Chicopee.
Many lawmakers have called the cuts too drastic.
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