On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he has taken steps to prevent cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) that would take place under the recently passed Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill proposed cutting SNAP by $8.6 billion over the next ten years by reforming a program called Heat and Eat. Heat and Eat gives states the option to raise SNAP benefits for low-income families who qualify for public assistance to help pay for heating and cooling costs to their homes with the understanding that no family should have to choose between paying for utilities or putting food on their tables. The cut would mean that 200,000 Washington households would lose $90 each month in food assistance, an amount that equates to nearly a week’s worth of groceries.
To prevent the cuts from taking place, Washington will now give these families $20.01 in public utilities assistance once a year. This move will keep over $70 million in food assistance here in Washington state and even more importantly, will save these household food budgets from taking another hit within a single year. Food stamps were already cut on Nov. 1, 2013. The result has deepened hunger in Washington as evidenced by the fact that Northwest Harvest’s statewide network of food banks and meal programs has reported an all-time record breaking number of services since the cut took place.
But the fight to protect SNAP and other nutrition programs such as TEFAP and WIC continues with the federal budget process. The House budget threatens to cut SNAP by as much as $125 billion over the next ten years by eliminating the Heat and Eat program and turning SNAP into a block grant program.Back to Updates