Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2023 — The Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which cleared the House Appropriations Committee, would slash critical federal nutrition programs that help keep hunger at bay for people across the country, resulting in the lowest funding allocation since 2006. FRAC strongly opposes this cruel and punitive legislation that would only deepen America’s hunger crisis.
The bill continues the assault on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s first line of defense against hunger that helps people keep food on the table and supports local economies. It would inflict further harm and increase food insecurity by arbitrarily throwing people off SNAP by increasing the age of those unemployed and underemployed adults who face arbitrary three-month time limits on SNAP eligibility, from 18 to 56, unless they document sufficient monthly work hours. The bill also would undermine states’ flexibility to use accumulated time-limit exemptions in future years.
The bill also would restrict SNAP consumers’ food choices. This will create a standard that will undermine dignity, increase stigma, and cause confusion and complications for shoppers, retailers, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement. This would particularly burden smaller retailers in rural and urban markets.
The committee’s effort to further squeeze participation and benefits for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a threat to the health and well-being of millions of babies and young children, and their mothers.
It’s unfathomable that some in Congress want to gut WIC’s program benefits that would impact 5 million pregnant women, new moms, and young children, along with slashing the program’s essential fruit and vegetable benefits. This should not happen at any time, but especially not during a time of rising food costs.
Hunger in this country would be far worse if not for programs like SNAP and WIC. Reducing funding for these programs will increase hunger, malnutrition, and poverty and worsen family security, child and adult health, employment, and other outcomes.
We urge Congress to reject the FY 2024 House Agriculture Appropriations bill and instead pass a spending bill that protects, invests in, and strengthens programs that ensure people have access to the nutrition they need. Hungry people can’t wait.
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.