By BILL MARDIS
Congressman Hal Rogers has assured the nearly 15,000 food stamp recipients in Pulaski County that the assistance will continue despite separation of food stamps from a farm bill that passed the House of Representatives without the food stamp program.
“A lot of my people depend on food stamps,” said Rogers. “Many people in my (5th Congressional) district are struggling. Some 5,700 jobs have been lost during the past 18 months because of President Obama’s war on coal. My people are hurting ... they need help. This is important to me.”
Rogers, at home in Somerset on a five-week summer recess of Congress, recalled that a farm bill was defeated in June, because, according to Rueters, some fiscally conservative Republicans wanted deeper cuts than the $20 billion –– largest in a generation –– that were proposed. Later, a farm bill, without food stamps, was passed by the House. The Senate passed a farm bill in June that would trim a comparatively small $4 billion.
“I voted for the (original) farm bill that included food stamps,” said Rogers. He predicted a separate food stamp bill will be passed before the current farm bill expires September 30.
“If the food stamp bill were to get bogged down, food stamp availability will continue,” the congressman assured. “I have an appropriations bill ready to go to the floor that will fund the food stamp program as it is,” said Rogers, chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Predicting Congress won’t agree on a budget for next fiscal year by September 30, Rogers said a continuing resolution to keep the government operating would fund the food stamp program at current levels.
“There is no cause to worry,” Rogers assured.
Pulaski County has 6,833 food stamp cases with 14,833 recipients. Average monthly benefit is $265.48 and total monthly redeemed is $1,814,045.