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Montana food banks warn more SNAP cuts would increase hunger

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 07:12:17 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 10:39:31 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

NBC Montana told you how recent cuts to SNAP, the federal food stamp program, will affect an estimated 130,000 Montanans.

Now, representatives in Washington are considering a bill that includes even more SNAP cuts, and local food banks warn they won't be able to pick up the slack.

The House and the Senate have each passed their versions of the Farm Bill, which is what provides funding for SNAP.

The Senate bill would cut about $4 billion of SNAP funds. The House bill cuts 10 times that amount -- $40 billion of food stamp cuts. Both cuts are would be implemented over a 10-year period.

Montana Food Bank Network Public Policy Director Lorianne Burhop says, if the house bill passes, the the state’s emergency food programs would be strained past their limit.

"We still are seeing record need in all our food pantries across the state. People are still struggling,” said Burhop. "If Congress were to pass the bill by the House, with $40 billion in cuts to SNAP, we would see increased hunger in Montana -- as simple as that. The number of meals lost through the SNAP program could not be made up by the emergency food program."

A conference committee has been set up for House and Senate members to work out a compromise for the two Farm Bills. Senator Max Baucus is on that committee, and helped write the Senate version of the bill.

The committee’s goal is to reach a compromise by Thanksgiving.