Washington, D.C. – June 21, 2012 – The Farm Bill that passed the Senate today continues the strong structure of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We appreciate the leadership of Majority Leader Reid, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow and Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Roberts in maintaining that structure. We also commend the Senate for rejecting amendments that would have crippled the program and left poorer, hungrier, and unhealthier millions of people who rely on the program for basic food. The attacks by some lawmakers on the strongest part of the safety net for millions of low-income seniors, working parents and other adults, unemployed families with children, people with disabilities, members of the Armed Services and veterans, and others were outrageous.
The bill does, however, contain a $4.5 billion cut to SNAP that will harm large numbers of struggling families. That provision limits the ability of states to operate “Heat and Eat” policies, and will trigger sizable reductions on monthly SNAP benefits for many households. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an estimated 500,000 households a year will lose $90 per month in SNAP benefits.
These are real cuts with real consequences – they mean lost meals for hungry Americans. Every bipartisan proposal discussed over the past year has exempted SNAP from cuts. The President’s budget has exempted SNAP from cuts. This bill spends new money in all sorts of directions, but cuts SNAP.
As the Farm Bill moves through the rest of the process, FRAC will work to produce a final bill with no SNAP cuts and preserving the strong structure of the program. No community – no congressional district – is free from hunger, and it is time for Congress to tackle this challenge with the urgency the situation demands.