PNS Daily Newscast - March 20, 2018 

President Trump again calls for the death penalty for drug dealers, but groups in New Hampshire say they oppose the get-tough approach. Also on today’s rundown: A protest against expanding tar-sands oil refining in California; and in Seattle, a group demands a moratorium on youth jail construction.

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Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Affect One in Six Arizonans

April 26, 2012

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The U.S. House Agriculture Committee has voted to recommend cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $36 billion over 10 years, in line with GOP budget mandates to reduce spending. It also chose to cut only the former food stamp program, rather than trimming smaller amounts from other agriculture-related programs. Some have accused the House committee of "political showmanship."

Ellen Teller, director of government affairs with the Food Research and Action Center, expects the Senate version of the Farm Bill to prevail over what the House committee adopted.

"Chairman Lucas from Oklahoma said "We've been instructed to find these cuts, we're going to do our job and then we're going to move on," sort of acknowledging that the Senate has no appetite to make those kinds of massive cuts in the SNAP program."

Republicans are scrambling to find cuts in government social programs to avoid mandatory cuts to defense spending contained in last year's deficit-reduction agreement. Seventeen percent of Arizonans, or one in six, are currently receiving SNAP benefits. Teller was in Phoenix as keynote speaker for a statewide food bank conference.

Although Arizona unemployment has started to drop, Arizona Association of Food Banks president Ginny Hildebrand says the need for SNAP program food assistance remains at near-record levels.

"We have a bit of a leveling off, but it's leveling off at 1.1 million participants, and about 24 percent of those households have someone who is elderly or disabled or a child."

Ellen Teller says federal spending on SNAP food assistance programs is "smart economics" that affects more than just the recipients.

"Mark Zandi from Moody's Economy has said that for every $1 that the federal government invests in SNAP, there's $1.73 in economic activity generated in that community."

Teller points out that SNAP not only provides food assistance for economic victims of the Great Recession, but also for victims of natural disasters, which have been unusually high in number during the past two years.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ