Statement attributed to Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).
WASHINGTON, February 12, 2018 — The president’s fiscal year 2019 budget eviscerates one of the nation’s most successful programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP). The mind-boggling hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of cuts and the ill-conceived programmatic distortions, if adopted, will mean much more hunger and poverty, worsened health, decreased ability of children to do well in school, and lower productivity for America. The spate of recent research showing the critical importance of SNAP to economic and food security, health, employment, learning, and productivity is jettisoned by the president’s proposal to slash and burn the program.
The president’s budget proposes to:
- reduce SNAP spending by an astronomical $213.5 billion over 10 years, which can only be accomplished by cutting out of the program entirely, or reducing assistance sharply for, tens of millions of seniors, children, people with disabilities, working families, unemployed people, and veterans;
- replace in significant part the very successful current system of having SNAP recipients use EBT cards to purchase food through grocery stores, supermarkets, farmers markets, and other normal commercial channels with a Rube-Goldberg designed system of commodity distribution via food boxes that will be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure, and that will return the country to Depression-era anti-hunger approaches;
- impose a federal rule cutting off eligible, low-income working families to whom states have chosen to extend SNAP benefits;
- penalize large families by imposing an arbitrary cap that cuts off benefits after six people are in a household; and
- eliminate the minimum benefit that particularly supports the nutrition of low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
The proposal also undercuts its own purported rationales and strategies by eliminating the Commodity Supplemental Food Program that provides food boxes to seniors, and eliminating SNAP nutrition education funding.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.