Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Wednesday night averted about $3 billion in food stamps cuts over the next 10 years, becoming the first Republican governor to do so since Congress slashed the program at the end of January, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The governor will preserve benefits for about 400,000 households in the state by increasing aid through the “Heat and Eat” assistance program, according to the Inquirer.
In the farm bill, Congress cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aid to some families by raising the threshold for SNAP assistance through the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program. Residents who received just $1 in heating assistance used to qualify for additional food stamp benefits, but Congress raised that threshold to $20 in 2014.
By raising the assistance through the LIHAP program to $20 for some Pennsylvania residents through a federal bloc grant, Corbett helped additional low-income families qualify for further food stamp assistance.
All additional funding for the “Heat and Eat” program will come from a federal grant, so Pennsylvania will not spend additional state funds.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, both Democrats, already increased funding to their “Heat and Eat” programs to forestall food stamp cuts.