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Emily Pickren

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2017 — The House Budget Committee’s fiscal year 2018 budget resolution is an all-out assault on struggling families that would make hunger in this country far worse. The proposal combines a huge tax cut that is heavily tilted toward the rich with tens of billions of dollars in safety net program cuts, including “reconciliation” instructions to committees with jurisdiction over SNAP, school meals, TANF, SSI, low-income tax credits, and other crucial supports. The proposal also includes large cuts in domestic discretionary programs and nearly $2 trillion dollars of cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

Among the harsh cuts proposed to essential anti-hunger programs are:

  • Instructions to the House Agriculture Committee to make $10 billion in cuts over 10 years to programs in its jurisdiction — a reduction clearly pointed at SNAP given the language in the Budget Committee’s explanatory documents.
  • Another $150 billion in SNAP cuts through block grant-type structural changes in the latter years of the 10-year budget window.
  • A $1.6 billion cut in the Community Eligibility Provision for school lunch and breakfast in high-poverty schools, targeting an estimated 8,284 currently participating schools with over 3.8 million students, and precluding another 12,843 schools with over 6.2 million students from choosing this option.

The cut to the Community Eligibility Provision only was revealed in a colloquy during the House Budget Committee’s hearing this morning, when a question from Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) prompted the revelation of this previously undisclosed slash in school meals from the majority staff director of the Budget Committee.

The committee budget overall proposes to rob the poor, sick, and hungry to further enrich the wealthiest Americans. The budget inflicts harm on children, seniors, people with disabilities, working families earning low wages, and people struggling with unemployment, as well as on the nation’s economic, fiscal, and civic well-being. As House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) said last December in his report summarizing two years of SNAP hearings in the Committee: “We can all agree that no one ought to go hungry in America, and SNAP is essential in protecting the most vulnerable citizens during tough times.” The Budget Committee rejects that statement.

In February, FRAC joined hundreds of national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, rural development, and other groups in a letter to the House and Senate Budget and Appropriation chairs and ranking members, urging them to reject cuts to programs within the jurisdiction of the Committees on Agriculture. FRAC will work with these groups, other allies, and anti-hunger and anti-poverty groups across the country to defeat the budget resolution’s cuts in the Agriculture Committee and other committee’s jurisdictions.

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The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.