Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lujan Grisham, Other House Members Promote Bill to Protect SNAP

Rep. Lujan Grisham (left) with local anti-hunger advocates
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and 42 other members of the House of Representatives have co-sponsored H.R. 1276, which would increase SNAP benefit amounts and ameliorate the harsh time limit on jobless adults willing to work. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SNAP provided food benefits to a monthly average of 453,146 people in New Mexico in Fiscal 2015. A USDA analysis breaks down the benefits by congressional district.

Many of the co-sponsors of H.R. 1276 are members of the House Hunger Caucus, including Rep. Lujan Grisham and caucus co-chair Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. We wish the list of co-sponsors was more bipartisan, but the reality is that we live in a deeply politically divided country.

H.R. 1276 is a bit of good news in the midst of very discouraging initiatives.  According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC),  there are efforts in Congress to block grant SNAP. Also, the The House Freedom Caucus is planning to push for changes to SNAP and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) that would yield $400 billion in ten-year spending cuts as part of a tax reform bill, according to Politico

FRAC has put together an analysis of President Trump's budget proposal to cut $193 billion from SNAP over ten years. "These cuts, which would slash SNAP by an unprecedented 25 percent, will dismantle a proven and effective program that provides a path out of hunger and poverty, and leads to improved diet, learning, productivity, and health," FRAC said in a statement of opposition to the president's budget proposal.

Bread for the World Lobby Day
These developments are occurring just days before a group of about 400 members of Bread for the World prepare to visit congressional offices on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 13, for Lobby Day 2017.  Bread advocates will ask their members of the U.S. House and Senate to oppose any budget cuts that would increase hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world, to fully fund domestic safety-net and international development programs that end hunger and poverty. and to oppose harmful structural changes to SNAP , Medicaid, and international development assistance.

Larry and Ellen Buelow will be among the 400 advocates in Washington on Tuesday.  There is an opportunity for other New Mexico Bread members to participate. The first is simple: make a phone call to our congressional offices Washington on Tuesday. For those of you who live in Albuquerque, you can join us for our local Lobby Day visits on Friday, June 16. We have scheduled visits to the offices of Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Lujan Grisham, and are working on an appointment with Sen. Martin Heinrich's office.  Here is more information about these two options.

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