By Jesse Epp-Fransen
Congressional lawmakers passed a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff at the last possible moment. This deal failed to address important issues such as the debt ceiling and focused almost entirely on avoiding tax increases for the majority of Americans. Unemployment insurance was extended in the deal, while potential cuts from anti-poverty programs have been postponed and could still happen when Congress is forced to address the debt ceiling at the end of February. Lawmakers need to continue to hear from their constituents that deficit reduction should not increase poverty.
Included in the end-of-the-year deal was a one-year extension of the farm bill–a bill that contains agriculture policy as well as some anti-poverty programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP, which is the largest program funded by the farm bill, could still see cuts as part of a future agreement.