U.S. government assistance to buy food has been cut for millions of poorer Americans, the result of Washington's ongoing contentious debate on spending priorities.
The U.S. provides food stamp aid for more than 47 million people to help them buy groceries each month. It boosted the aid during the recession in 2009 that proved to be the country's biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But the extra assistance ended Thursday, at the end of October.
The aid is sent to about one in seven Americans. But with the cutback in the program, a family of four that had been getting $668 a month will get $36 less.
Congress has for months been debating the renewal of a farm spending bill that includes food stamp aid, but has been unable to reach agreement. Conservative Republicans who want to trim the size of the national government have called for further cuts in the food stamp budget, but have been blocked by liberal Democratic lawmakers.