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Representatives from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Feeding America, and other national organizations joined several Members of Congress outside the Capitol Building today to protest proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“These are real cuts with real consequences, especially for seniors and working poor Americans – they will mean lost meals for hungry households,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “These cuts are at odds with every bipartisan deficit proposal discussed over the past year – Simpson-Bowles, Gang of Six, and others – as well as the Budget Control Act, which protected SNAP from cuts.”
The current Farm Bill proposal being debated in the House and proposed by Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) cuts SNAP by $16 billion over the next decade by restricting the states’ ability to coordinate SNAP with other low-income programs.
According to opponents, these cuts would mean approximately 280,000 school-age children would no longer be automatically eligible for free school meals through their receipt of SNAP benefits, and anywhere from anywhere from 1.8 million to 3 million Americans living in poverty would lose benefits.
"We cannot understand how anyone could believe that it is moral, just or conscionable to attempt to cut food benefits for the poorest and most vulnerable among us," said Vicki Escarra, CEO and President of Feeding America. "It is not the American way to take food away from impoverished children, senior citizens, or disabled people living on the brink of hunger, those who are too young, too old, or too infirm to fend for themselves."
At the event, on behalf of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, Chef Seth Bixby Daugherty shared a letter urging Congress to protect funding for SNAP that was signed by more than 400 members of the culinary community nationwide and delivered to Members of Congress today. This letter adds to the wide range of voices in support of SNAP and in opposition to cuts. In December, more than 170 Members of Congress sent a letter urging the Agriculture Committee to protect SNAP, and a recent letter was sent by the Congressional Black Caucus. Last month, more than 35,000 individuals signed a petition circulated by Bread for the World in June to Congress opposing cuts to SNAP. Last year, more than 2,700 national, state, and local organizations sent a letter to Congress opposing efforts to block grant SNAP.
Speakers at the event noted that any cut to SNAP means less food in the refrigerators and the cupboards of the hungriest people in America – children, seniors, working families, unemployed workers, people with disabilities and others. The average SNAP household has income of 57 percent of the poverty level, and 84 percent of all benefits go to households with a child, elderly person, or disabled person.
A recent poll released by FRAC earlier this year found that 77 percent of voters said cutting SNAP would be the wrong way to reduce government spending, with opposition to cuts crossing party lines.
Let the House know how you feel about cutting food assistance to those in need. Sign the SNAP petition here.