Food stamp spending bill concerns East Tennesseans

Food stamp spending bill concerns East Tennesseans who rely on the assistance

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"All I have is just enough to live. We're not even talking about the gas to get to work. We're not talking about anything extra," said Logan Flanigan. "All I have is just enough to live. We're not even talking about the gas to get to work. We're not talking about anything extra," said Logan Flanigan.
Without food stamps, Flanigan says her young family wouldn't eat. Without food stamps, Flanigan says her young family wouldn't eat.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Approval of the scaled-back farm bill by the US House is setting up what could be an even bigger fight over food stamp spending.

Food stamps have been part of the farm bill since the 1970's, but to get enough votes for its passage, Republicans dropped the controversial food stamp section of the bill.

It proposed cutting the program by $2 billion a year.

One in seven Americans rely on the assistance, including more than 470,000 people in East Tennessee.

The dropped section of the farm bill would have made a three percent cut to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program.

Many Republicans say that isn't enough, considering the program's cost has doubled in the past five years, while Democrats oppose any cuts.

The food stamp spending debate has local recipients of food stamps worried about potential cuts, including Logan Flanigan of Knoxville, a 23-year-old single mother.

"In 2010 when I got pregnant with my daughter, I got on food stamps," said Flanigan.

Flanigan works third shift doing in-home assisted living to provide for herself and her two-year-old daughter Raney.

And they live paycheck to paycheck.

"All I have is just enough to live. We're not even talking about the gas to get to work. We're not talking about anything extra," said Flanigan.

After paying her monthly bills, there's just not enough to cover the cost of food.

"The rent, KUB bill, car payment and insurance," said Flanigan.

Without food stamps, Flanigan says her young family wouldn't eat.

"It would be hungry," said Flanigan.

She stretches every dollar she gets from the government, working to make it last all month long.

"This is what you have at the end of the month right here. Its slim pickings. You want a tomato or bacon," said Flanigan, showing 6 News the contents of her fridge.

Flanigan hopes the new food stamps bill won't strip her of the food stamps she and so many others count on.

"It kind of makes me angry that people do have the stereotype that people abuse them, and yeah, some people do. But not everyone. Some people really genuinely do need the help and they deserve the help," said Flanigan.

For now, she's just thankful for the assistance.

"I'm very grateful and it is a blessing. I don't know what I would do without them, I really don't," said Flanigan.

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