Food stamps on the chopping block?

Posted at: 10/23/2013 1:21 PM
By: Danielle Leigh, NBC News

Photo: Source: NBC News

(NBC News) -- Millions of low income individuals could lose federally provided food assistance under proposed cuts to the farm bill.

Lawmakers are looking for savings in the nearly 1 trillion dollar bill and the food stamp program could prove the most contentious.

23-year-old ebony price is looking for help from a Washington D.C. resource center.

She relies on food stamps for herself and her daughter, but often the $336. She gets doesn't cut it.

"It's a struggle out here it is a struggle to a lot of people who aren't able to make it by themselves," Price said.

The monthly food allowance ebony receives comes from the farm bill, and what that program will look next year is up for debate.

The Senate would cut about 4 billion dollars over 10 years by closing loopholes in the process for determining how much assistance an individual qualifies for.

The House wants to cut 39 billion dollars, largely by ending waivers allowing the jobless to stay on food stamps longer in areas with high unemployment.

"We need to make government assistance something temporary and not a way of life," said Israel Ortega of the conservative think tank group Heritage Foundation.

U.S.D.A. Secretary Tom Vilsack says those cuts aren't the answer.

"There are worse outcomes in the workplace and at schools. There are worse outcomes for the country as a whole," said Jim Weill of the Food Action Research Center.  

"When you disqualify 3-4 million Americans from the program that is not acceptable," said Vilsack.

Anti-hunger advocates say food insecurity effects more than the individual it could hurt the nation as whole.