The cuts to SNAP are deeper in the House Agriculture Committee's version of the farm bill than the reductions made in the Senate Agriculture Committee. The Senate panel cut funding for food stamps by about $4.1 billion. Read comments from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a member of the committee, following the passage of the Senate version of the farm bill.
As Bread for the World and Sen. Gillibrand point out, domestic nutrition programs such as SNAP are the first line of defense against hunger and have proven effective in decreasing food insecurity during a weakened economy.
An analysis from Bread for the World (which includes a breakdown on how members voted) describes how the cuts approved by the House Agriculture Committee could create hardships for families in our country. If enacted, the FARRM would:
- Remove 2 million SNAP recipients from the program
- Reduce SNAP benefits (by about $90 each month) for 850,000 households
- End free school meals for 210,000 children.
- Cut international food aid by $2.5 billion over 5 years—those cuts would include a 78 percent reduction in funding for improving the nutritional quality of food aid
In addition to the direct impact on benefits, the bill would restrict states' flexibility in how they administer SNAP in coordination with other low-income support programs like heating assistance (LIHEAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Here are some of the statements from various organizations regarding cuts in funding for SNAP. Some of the statements were included in a joint press release from Bread for the World, United Way, Catholic Charities and Feeding America. Others came just before or just after the House Agriculture Committee mark-up.
Bread for the World
“If the House farm bill becomes law with these drastic cuts, millions will lose food assistance at a time when American families are struggling with long-term unemployment or reduced wages," said Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World's director of government relations. Now is not the time for Congress to turn its back on hungry people.”
Catholic Charities USA
Larry Snyder , President of Catholic Charities USA. "We as a society have a special obligation to consider first the needs of the poor, even as we act through government. The proposed cuts to this vital program put a disproportionate burden on the very people our Catholic tradition teaches us to elevate in our public consciousness."
Bob Aiken , president and CEO of Feeding America. "There is no way that charity would be able to make up the difference. We are already stretched thin meeting sustained high need, and we simply do not have the resources to prevent hunger in all of the families who would be impacted by these cuts."
This is what the organization said shortly after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version of the farm bill. “Given the state of the economy and the fact that so many people are struggling to find work or are working for fewer hours or lower wages, now is the time to protect and strengthen Federal hunger-relief programs, and not to cut these essential benefits upon which so many vulnerable families rely." Read full statement
Steve Taylor , Senior Vice President and Counsel for Policy at United Way Worldwide. "Every day local charities see this partnership reflected in the generous support of volunteers and donors, and this value is reflected in Washington through important programs like SNAP. We're all in this together. SNAP and the families it serves must be protected from cuts."
Share Our Strength
Food Research and Action Center
Network: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
"I am proud of the Committee's effort to advance a farm bill with significant savings and reforms. We achieve nearly $40 billion in savings by eliminating outdated government programs and reforming others. No other committee in Congress is voluntarily cutting money, in a bipartisan way, from its jurisdiction to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and the bipartisan nature in which this legislation was written and approved. I look forward to debating the bill on the House floor this summer," said Rep. Frank Lucas, committee chair.
Here is the full House Agriculture Committee Press Release, which provides details of cuts and consolidations in other programs under the jurisdiction of the committee.