Food Research and Action Center Expresses Disappointment with Senate Farm Bill Cutting SNAP Benefits

Statement attributable to FRAC President Jim Weill
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Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202.986.2200 x3018

Washington, D.C. – June 11, 2013 – The Farm Bill passed yesterday by the Senate contains a $4.1 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 in monthly SNAP benefits for many households, as well as increasing state administrative burdens. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an estimated 500,000 households a year will lose $90 per month in SNAP benefits.

The cuts being proposed by the House are even more outrageous, building on the Senate bill by adding another cut that would remove two million people from the program altogether and cause more than 200,000 low-income children to lose access to school meals.

Such cuts are vigorously opposed by the American public. Seven in 10 voters say that cutting food stamp funding is the wrong way to reduce government spending. Voters in rural communities and small towns reject cuts decisively, by 68 percent to 32 percent, and support for food stamps crosses generational lines—67 percent of both young voters (under age 35) and seniors reject food stamp cuts.

Five months ago an Institute of Medicine committee reviewed the adequacy of the “Thrifty Food Plan” (which is the basis for these SNAP allotments) and found that SNAP allotments are not enough for most families to purchase an adequate, healthy diet throughout the month.

Two months ago the President’s budget for FY2014 proposed not cutting SNAP, and adding funds so SNAP benefits could be more adequate, at least in the short-term.

We appreciate that the Senate rejected – in Committee and on the floor – several amendments that would have made the situation far worse.

We applaud those in the Senate who fought off larger cuts, as well as those Senators who voted to restore the $4.1 billion cut.

As the Farm Bill moves through the rest of the process, FRAC will work to produce a final bill that contains no SNAP cuts and that preserves the strong structure of the program.