Members of Congress Join Feeding America, FRAC, and Dozens of Organizations to Rally Against Proposed Cuts to SNAP in House Farm Bill Proposal
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Washington – Dozens of national organizations joined Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, and several Members of Congress, including Agriculture Committee members, today outside the Capitol Building to rally against cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) included in the proposal and to describe the impact these cuts would have on vulnerable populations.
Members in attendance included: Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
The Farm Bill proposal, as unveiled by Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) last week, would result in millions of people losing benefits. It would cut SNAP by $16 billion over ten years by restricting states’ ability to coordinate SNAP with other low-income programs.
Specifically, the cuts would restrict the broad-based Categorical Eligibility (Cat El) option that allows states to coordinate SNAP income and asset rules for participants enrolled in other programs, and limit states’ options to operate “heat and eat” policies. According to estimates, the proposed cuts would have the following consequences:
Limiting Cat-El would result in millions of people per year, on average, losing benefits – anywhere from 1.8 million, according to the CBO, or from 2 to 3 million, according to the Administration. The CBO also estimates that approximately 280,000 school-age children in those households would no longer be automatically eligible for free school meals through their receipt of SNAP benefits.
Limiting “Heat and Eat” would result in an additional 500,000 SNAP households remaining eligible, but losing $90 a month in SNAP food benefits, according to CBO.
“These are real cuts with real consequences, especially for seniors and working poor Americans – they will mean lost meals for hungry households,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “These cuts are at odds with every bipartisan deficit proposal discussed over the past year – Simpson-Bowles, Gang of Six, and others – as well as the Budget Control Act, which protected SNAP from cuts.”
“We cannot understand how anyone could believe that it is moral, just or conscionable to attempt to cut food benefits for the poorest and most vulnerable among us,” said Vicki Escarra, CEO and President of Feeding America. “It is not the American way to take food away from impoverished children, senior citizens, or disabled people living on the brink of hunger, those who are too young, too old, or too infirm to fend for themselves.”
At the event, on behalf of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, Chef Seth Bixby Daugherty shared a letter urging Congress to protect funding for SNAP that was signed by more than 400 members of the culinary community nationwide and delivered to Members of Congress today. This letter adds to the wide range of voices in support of SNAP and in opposition to cuts. In December, more than 170 Members of Congress sent a letter urging the Agriculture Committee to protect SNAP, and a recent letter was sent by the Congressional Black Caucus. Last month, more than 35,000 individuals signed a petition circulated by Bread for the World in June to Congress opposing cuts to SNAP. Last year, more than 2,700 national, state, and local organizations sent a letter to Congress opposing efforts to block grant SNAP.
Speakers at the event noted that any cut to SNAP means less food in the refrigerators and the cupboards of the hungriest people in America – children, seniors, working families, unemployed workers, people with disabilities and others. The average SNAP household has income of 57 percent of the poverty level, and 84 percent of all benefits go to households with a child, elderly person, or disabled person. Such cuts also have been rejected by the American public. Polling data released by FRAC earlier this year found that 77 percent of voters said cutting SNAP would be the wrong way to reduce government spending, with opposition to cuts crossing party lines.
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About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
About the Food Research and Action Center
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is the lead advocacy organization working to end hunger in America through stronger public policies. For more information, visit http://www.frac.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/foodresearchandactioncenter or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/fractweets.