FRAC Statement: SNAP Cuts in Farm Bill Will Lead to Less Food for Vulnerable People

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

Washington, D.C. — January 28, 2014 — The Farm Bill moving from conference committee to the floor of the House and Senate will cut SNAP benefits to an estimated 850,000 households by an average of $90/month.  The Food Research and Action Center is encouraging members to vote “No” on the bill because of the pain this provision will cause for so many of the most vulnerable members of our society, making monthly food allotments fall even further short of what is needed.

SNAP is essential to the nutrition, health and well-being of 47 million Americans each month. But every participant suffered a significant cut in benefits beginning last November 1st.  Demand at emergency food providers around the country has skyrocketed.  Now the Farm Bill, if passed, will considerably worsen the already bad situation for nearly a million households.

The SNAP cuts in the conference bill amount to $8.6 billion over 10 years.  The bill has modest boosts in nutrition supports in respects (e.g. for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), for “double bucks” farmers’ market programs, for improved SNAP education and training programs, for Healthy Food Financing). These are small positive steps but are far from commensurate to the SNAP damage in the bill.

We appreciate that key conferees and other Senators and House members spoke and acted to reject the far larger harmful cuts proposed by the House.  But FRAC believes the $8.6 billion SNAP cut is deeply harmful.

This cut has been opposed by major newspapers, anti-poverty and anti-hunger groups and food banks across the country.  It is inconsistent with polls showing voters—across party, age and other demographics—reject food stamp cuts.  It is inconsistent with the President’s proposals to improve, not harm, SNAP benefits.  In a bitter irony, the bill goes to the floor almost exactly a year after an expert Institute of Medicine committee found that SNAP benefits are already inadequate for most families to purchase an adequate, healthy diet; and it comes in the same month that researchers issued a new study showing that low-income people have increased hypoglycemia-related hospital admissions late in the month because they run out of food.  The SNAP cuts will be a blow to health and nutrition, and to the government’s long-term fiscal well-being as well.