Farm subsidy recipient Rep. Stephen Fincher supports cuts in foo - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Farm subsidy recipient Rep. Stephen Fincher supports cuts in food stamps

West Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher represents part of Shelby County. West Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher represents part of Shelby County.
Ashley Watkins of Binghampton disagrees with Fincher's stance that billions of dollars in food stamp spending needs to be cut. Ashley Watkins of Binghampton disagrees with Fincher's stance that billions of dollars in food stamp spending needs to be cut.
Fincher said there is currently too much waste, fraud, and abuse. Fincher said there is currently too much waste, fraud, and abuse.

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South congressman who has received millions in government assistance himself is defending a plan to cut food stamps drastically.

West Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher, who represents part of Shelby County, reportedly refused to comment to other media outlets about what has become quite a controversy – but he spoke to Action News 5's Jason Miles.

"Some in the press have tried to blow this up and make it a political matter. This is preserving the system for people who really need the system," said Fincher.

Fincher said there is currently too much waste, fraud, and abuse.

Ashley Watkins of Binghampton disagrees with Fincher's stance that billions of dollars in food stamp spending needs to be cut.

She described what it is like to need government assistance as she watched her four kids cool off in a front porch baby pool Wednesday.

"How are we supposed to live off $17 an hour with six people in the house? It's impossible," said Watkins.

She receives about $400 a month in food stamps to help feed her children. She said without food stamps she could not support her family.

In Fincher's plan, he recently used a Bible verse about those unwilling to work not eating – as a defense.

But some have called him hypocritical for reportedly accepting more than $3 million in federal farm subsidies himself since 1999. That includes more than $70,000 in his re-election year of 2012.

"We voted to do away with the direct payment system, the farm subsidy program as we know it. It's gone," said Fincher.

Federal farm programs and food stamps are tied together. Watkins fears her family will get caught in the middle.

"Are there enough hoops to jump through now to get it? Yeah," she said.

The food stamp program is formally known as SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

It serves more than 1.3 million Tennesseans alone.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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