Pine Belt families could feel cuts in food stamps

Pine Belt families could feel cuts in food stamps

PINE BELT (WDAM) - President Donald Trump's $4.1 trillion budget plan could impact Pine Belt families.

Trump's plan includes $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic agencies, including food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding, crop insurance and medical research.

"I thank God who gave it to the people out there that need it," said Hattiesburg Resident Suzanne Spivey.

Spivey said she recently got into a car accident and injured her back, limiting her ability to work and maintain a steady income.  She said sometimes it can be hard to feed her two grandchildren and family.

"You know, paying bills doing this and that. You can work two jobs and you still need extra money, for food," Spivey said.

According to the Mississippi Department of Human Services website, those who currently qualify for SNAP include persons who work for low wages, are unemployed or work part-time, receive TANF, SSI or other assistance payments and those who are elderly or disabled and live on a small income.

"I believe in feeding my kids and eating, but a lot of kids go to school and don't even have food. they deserve to get food stamps," Spivey said.

The most recent data from the USDA looks at the SNAP program during 2015 in Mississippi.  Almost $1 billion in food benefits were provided to over 636,000 people a month.  The program served 82.2% of eligible households.

Many people told WDAM 7 they've already seen differences in the amount and ability to receive federal aid.

Miranda Adams, Program Director at Edwards Street Fellowship Center, said the cuts to food stamps could mean more families may turn to the food pantry.

"Just yesterday, we had a family come in who's snap benefits had already been cut, it is something we see often," Adams said.  "If they are cut nationwide, I could see that affecting us. Since we rely heavily on donations, it would definitely make us have to reach out more and need more with more families."

Some Mississippi lawmakers made statements this week in response to the Trump Administration's budget.

Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) made this statement in response:

"President Trump's budget lays out in detail his administration's vision for how the federal government can best serve the American people.  It is an opportunity for Congress to reexamine programs across the government, and to address the significant fiscal challenges that face our country.  The Appropriations Committee will immediately begin to hold hearings and do the work necessary to prepare appropriations bills that responsibly provide for our national security and other priorities.  We have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time."

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) released this statement:

"President Trump promised that he would work to rein in government spending and address the nation's nearly $20 trillion debt -- a goal I share with him. We need to have a national conversation about mandatory spending on programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which are the real drivers of our debt. This is one of the big issues of our time, and I look forward to working with the President to find a solution that slows the growth rate and works for all Americans – including our children and grandchildren. The President's budget, outlining his spending recommendations for the coming year, is just the first stage in this process. I am pleased to see that he is prioritizing national defense, border security, infrastructure, and veterans. Under our Constitution, the power of the purse belongs with Congress. I intend to work closely with Sen. Cochran, who is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to ensure that the people of Mississippi and their interests are supported and protected."