DeLauro launches attack on farm bill that would slash food stamps

House Republicans are about to go after a federal program Rep. Rosa DeLauro holds dear and she’s not taking it lightly.

DeLauro, D-3rd District, plans to hold a news conference with fellow House liberals Tuesday to condemn a GOP farm bill that would cut the food stamp program by about $1.6 billion a year.

Reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as the food stamp program is now known, are aimed at cutting a five-year, half-trillion-dollar bill that authorizes U.S. Department of Agriculture spending.

The food stamp program is an easy target for budget-cutters because comprises about 80 percent of the USDA budget.

But DeLauro has called the proposed cuts “irresponsible and inhumane.”

Advocates for the needy in Connecticut also oppose the proposed cuts, which would be accomplished by tightening eligibility.

Jennifer Heath, executive vice president for the United Way of the Greater New Haven Area, said limiting eligibility so that those with modest assets — such as a car — would no longer qualify will hurt recession-wracked middle-class families and others who are newly food insecure.

“Those are exactly the people who are coming into the program,” Heath said.

About one in seven Americans — and nearly 200,000 Connecticut families — receive food stamps.

The Senate approved a farm bill last month that would also reduce spending on food stamps. But the House’s farm bill would cut it by four times more.

And conservative House Republicans are expected to seek deeper cuts when the farm bill is debated later this year.