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Feeding America's CEO and president Vicki Escarra expressed her outrage at the House Agriculture Committee’s vote today to drastically cut spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed cuts would reduce the program by more than $33 billion.
"Coming at a time of record need and at a time when many state and local safety net programs have been scaled back and the charitable system is stretched to the breaking point, these cuts would be devastating for low-income families and communities across the country," she said.
The average monthly SNAP benefit per person was $133.85 in FY2011, or less than $1.50 per person per meal. Currently, Feeding America reports that many receiving SNAP benefits are forced to turn to food pantries for assistance for at least six months out of the year. "Food banks are already struggling to keep up with tremendous need. Any cuts to SNAP would only increase the number of people turning to local charities for assistance, and already over strapped food banks would not be able to make up the difference," Escarra said.
"It is particularly troubling that the Committee chose to depart from Washington’s long history of bipartisan commitment to protecting low-income safety net programs during deficit reduction efforts and instead met its savings target solely through cuts to SNAP, placing the weight of deficit reduction on the shoulders of those who are least able to bear the burden of cuts," Escarra added. "We urge the House Agriculture Committee to reverse course by protecting and strengthening SNAP and other nutrition programs when it drafts a Farm Bill later this year."
Photo of Vicki Escarra courtesy of Feeding America.