There’s a saying in Washington that goes something like this, “The only thing temporary in Washington is the truth”. What that means is whenever a temporary program is begun, whenever a temporary increase is enacted, or a temporary tax cut is enacted, it is tremendously difficult to follow through with the temporary part of the initiative. In this case, it looks like one temporary program might actuallly be coming to an end, the Federal Food Stamp Stimulus program begun in 2009.
Some 1.8 million Pennsylvanians are going to be affected by an expiration of the 2009 federal stimulus act which had increased monthly food stamp subsidies for a fixed period of time. It is estimated that in an average household of 4, the monthly monetary decrease of food stamps will go down by $36. The decrease is being called by some the first modern history “cut” for all national recipients. Others are not calling the decrease a cut but simply an end to what was intended to be a temporary increase.
PA recipients have been frustated with the state’s Department of Public Welfare. in not giving them a clear, early indication of the ‘cuts’. A spokeswoman from the department responded that the department itself was not clear on the exact amount of the ‘cuts’. She said that families should expect a letter in the mail come October outlining the amount of loss that will be going in effect come November.
Caryn Long, executive director of Feeding Pennsylvania, had a different perspective. Long stated, “These cuts were put in place two, three years ago”. Long’s concern is that the state’s slow efforts to educate the recipeints of the changes could affect food banks, who might not be able to meet the unexpected new demand of those in need.
It should be noted that Caryn Long was previously the Congressional Fellow in the Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA).
Critics of Long point out that the ‘cuts’ to food stamp recipeints do not begin until Novemeber of this year, giving recipients and food banks nearly 3 months to prepare for this change.