New Mexico's Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is fighting hard during the markup of the 2013 Farm Bill in the House Agriculture Committee to save funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). Rep. Lujan Grisham sits on the Subcommittee on Operations, Oversight and Nutrition, so she has important input on this issue. And as she gains seniority her input will be stronger.
(International food aid goes beyond funding. A handful of groups, including Bread for the World, have joined together to ask both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to reform food aid, so more of the money allocated goes directly to people in need instead of intermediaries).
The Farm Bill was scheduled to go to a vote in 2012, but Congress deferred work to this year. If you recall, Sen. Gillibrand led an unsuccessful effort in the Senate last year to reallocate some of the guaranteed profits for crop insurance to SNAP.
So the Farm Bill is back for consideration (right now, even as we speak), and Sen. Gillibrand is again fighting hard to save SNAP funding, in light of a proposal in the Senate to cut $4.1 billion in food stamps over the next 10 years. These cuts would result in an average benefit reduction of $90 per month for nearly a half a million households. The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider the Farm Bill tomorrow, May 15.
“More than half of food stamp recipients are children, eight percent
are seniors and unfortunately, as many veterans are using food stamps as
any time in history. As a mother and a lawmaker, watching a child go
hungry is something I just will not stand for. Families who are living
in poverty, who are just trying to figure out how to keep the lights on
and put food on the table -- they did not spend this nation into debt.
And we should not be trying to balance the budget on their backs.”
Sen. Gillibrand is willing to compromise, but only to a certain extent. "Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants no cut to food stamps, but she
said in an interview that she hopes to vote for a final bill even if
there is a small cut to food stamps, as there was in the Senate bill she
voted for last year," The National Journal reported recently.
The effort to preserve funding for SNAP in the Farm Bill is going to be extremely difficult, but we are glad that Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. Lujan Grisham and others are fighting hard for tens of thousands of food-insecure families around the country.