(This Facebook Live took place on August 2. Below are excerpts of Rep. McGovern’s remarks. The full recording may be viewed here.)
The House bill is a cruel document that actually increases hunger in this country. It would cut millions and millions in benefits for needy families. It would result in children losing access to free school meals. It is unconscionable.
There are a lot of people relying on SNAP to be able to put food on the table for their families. We should be about trying to help those people, not making their lives more miserable.
The reason why this is important is because some of my colleagues in Congress and the White House have created a narrative that doesn’t reflect reality. They would have everybody believe that people on SNAP are all lazy, that all they need to do is get a job and everything will be fine. Well, look, the majority of people on the program are not expected to work because they’re children, senior citizens or they’re people with disabilities. Of those that can work, the vast majority work. But they’re not earning enough. They still earn so little they qualify for [SNAP]. And by the way, the [SNAP] benefit, in my opinion, is inadequate. The benefit on average is $1.40 per person per meal.
Hunger costs a lot of money. You have kids who go to school who are hungry and don’t learn. You have workers who are hungry who are less productive.
We need to do better. But, at a minimum, we need to make sure we don’t make things worse.
We’re not going to compromise when it comes to the issue of hunger. We’re not going to go along to get along to get a farm bill that makes hunger worse. On the nutrition title, when it comes to SNAP, there is no negotiation, period. We are not going to allow there to be a farm bill that hurts people. No farm bill is better than a lousy farm bill. It is so maddening to me that being dedicated to ending hunger in this country is controversial. But it’s not controversial anywhere but Washington. It’s become a political football and it’s disgusting that hunger has become a political football.
If this isn’t important then I don’t know what the hell is, quite frankly. We’ve got over 40 million Americans who are hungry or food insecure in this country. We’re the richest country in the history of the world. We can’t solve this problem? We can’t do better? That’s ridiculous. We can do better. And it begins with making sure we have a Farm Bill that doesn’t betray our values.
Read FRAC’s “How Hungry Is America?” report here.