By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World
All four Kansas members in the U.S. House voted Thursday for a Republican plan to cut food stamps by $39 billion that would cause nearly 4 million people to lose benefits.
The measure passed 217-210 with only Republican support, and now goes to the Senate. Democrats have said it won't pass in the Senate and the White House has threatened to veto the bill if it ever came to President Barack Obama's desk.
U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, whose district includes Lawrence, defended the bill, saying it would provide for families and children who truly need the program, which is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
"Congress has a responsibility to support and empower individuals and families in their time of need, and this bill will protect the ability of programs like SNAP to provide benefits to those who need them," Jenkins said.
Critics said the cut would hurt poor families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work. More than 47 million, or 1 in 7 Americans, depend on the program.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the plan would result in 3.8 million people losing their benefits.
A Senate version of the bill would trim SNAP by about one-tenth of the House cut.
U.S. Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Fowler, Mike Pompeo of Wichita and Kevin Yoder of Overland Park also voted for the bill.