While many remain on board in uniting efforts to eradicate child hunger, obesity, and poverty by 2015 it has become apparent that the recent Farm Bill proposal passed on May 16 by the House Agriculture Committee is not in tune with that goal.
The current Farm Bill being proposed by the House of Representatives involves $20.5 billion over 10 years in cuts to SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps). This massive cut will have a drastic impact on the millions of Americans who participate in SNAP. With the loss of jobs and the rates of individuals living under the poverty line, programs like SNAP, which provide fast relief to families who have been hit by difficult times, are necessary.
Cutting the funding for SNAP is not the solution for aiding the millions of American families who are struggling to make ends meet. Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley stated that, “One in five kids will go to bed tonight not knowing if they or someone in their family will have enough to eat tomorrow.” Protecting investments that reduce child hunger and obesity is essential to the growth of our nation.
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) issued a statement on the Farm bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee. According to FRAC, SNAP is the largest federal child nutrition initiative, serving more than 20 million children every year. In Nebraska, about 80,000 kids rely on SNAP to help their family put food on the table. An estimated 47 cents of every SNAP dollar goes to feed children and this proposed $20.5 billion-budget cut could result in 500,000 SNAP participating households losing $90 a month in benefits, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
As the Senate prepares to proceed with their Farm Bill on the floor it is likely that Senators will offer harmful amendments to increase the cuts to SNAP. As of right now, the total cuts to SNAP in the Senate bill are $4.1 billion over 10 years. Senator Gillibrand has proposed an amendment to restore the SNAP cuts. It is essential to ask your Senators to support the Gillibrand amendment in order to restore these cuts and ask that they do not support any amendments that would further cut or change the integrity of important nutrition programs, which include SNAP, SNAP-Ed and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
Cuts in government assistance programs like SNAP will further increase the number of children facing difficult times. In order to meet the goal of ending child hunger, obesity, and poverty it is important to support SNAP instead of limiting its ability to help struggling families afford healthy foods.