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No Farm Bill Means More Time to Take Action

It’s been a long road to hash out a new five-year Farm Bill, but we can now expect a vote on a Farm Bill compromise in early January, when Congress reconvenes after the holiday recess.

That agreement may cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”) by $8.6 billion over the next ten years. This cut is twice the amount proposed in the Senate’s Farm Bill but would have the same impact here in Washington state: 232,000 low-income households that receive public assistance to help pay utilities and heating costs for their homes will lose $90 each month in SNAP benefits.

These cuts come fast on the heels of the cuts to SNAP that took place on Nov. 1. The Nov. 1 cuts meant that the average family of 4 on SNAP lost $36 in monthly benefits. Food banks across the country have been reporting dramatic rise in client need as families search for some relief after losing such a sizable amount from their household food budgets. The cuts from the Farm Bill will only drive up need more.

Negotiations will continue throughout the holiday recess that could mean that the door is still open to cut SNAP even more. Advocates should be prepared to take action, talking with their members of Congress while they are back in district throughout the holidays, reminding them that none of us can afford more cuts to SNAP.

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