House leadership has held true to their promise made before Congress broke for a month long recess: they have put together legislation that will contain the nutrition programs left out of the Farm Bill that they passed at the end of July. This bill will provide guidelines for spending for programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and programs that provide commodities and funding for operations and transportation costs for food banks.
Unfortunately, this bill also doubles down on the cuts to SNAP that were defeated earlier this summer: this bill wants to cut SNAP by $40 billion. The cut will mean millions of meals missed in Washington alone, as working poor families with children and seniors on fixed incomes will lose all or significant portions of their SNAP benefits.
The bulk of these cuts come from proposed changes to SNAP with regards to work requirements. The problem is that these proposals ignore the facts about who are the people on SNAP. About 76% of all SNAP recipients are seniors on fixed incomes, people with disabilities who are unable to work, and children. Of the remaining SNAP population who are able to work, most are working but are underpaid or underemployed. Then of the remaining very small subsection of SNAP recipients who are able to work but aren’t working, most are individuals who would gladly accept a job, any job, if they could find one, but this legislation won’t provide any financing for programs or services that will help them keep or retain a job.
In the end, all this bill will do is push those people who were on the verge of breaking out of poverty back into poverty’s grasp and sink those who are almost at rock bottom even further as SNAP takes away much needed income for food that helps provide relief to those who do not make enough money to meet their basic needs. Cuts like these will deepen hunger and dependency on our emergency food network, which according to Bread for the World, will have to double our current efforts to make up for the loss of support from SNAP.Back to Updates