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Federal Food Stamp Cuts Take Effect

File photo of a woman using her EBT card in Portland, Ore. to purchase food.
Brian Duss
Bread for the World
File photo of a woman using her EBT card in Portland, Ore. to purchase food.

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

The cut is really the end of a temporary boost that was enacted at the beginning of the recession. Congress is allowing that extra assistance to expire. For a family of four, that means a cut of $36 per month in benefits.

Nearly 18 percent of the combined population of Oregon, Washington and Idaho receive food stamps. And those stats don't tell the whole story, says Director of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force Kathy Gardner.

"In Idaho, over 75 percent of the people on food stamps have children," she says. "They're families with children."

Households with kids also make up a sizeable chunk of those receiving supplemental food assistance in Oregon and Washington.

Congressional Democrats have proposed preserving the extra food stamp funding but Republicans in the U.S. House have said no. GOP lawmakers say the increased benefits were meant to be temporary.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.