Why We Cannot Support the Lugar Farm Bill Proposal
Four-year-old Aijelene Ferreras, of Takoma Park, MD, is one of thousands of children who receive free and reduced school lunches.
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) has introduced a farm bill proposal that includes harmful cuts and changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). This bill could eliminate food assistance to about 1 million low-income people by partially repealing what’s known as “categorical eligibility.” More than 40 states currently use categorical eligibility, an option that allows them to streamline gross income eligibility rules and the financial asset test for SNAP. Repealing this option would negatively impact families with children and could cause about 200,000 children to lose their free school meals. This option also would strip states of their flexibility in administering SNAP, creating further administrative burdens and likely increasing administrative costs and error rates.
With poverty and unemployment reaching record rates, the need for food assistance has never been greater. SNAP is vital to millions of Americans and has helped keep the number of families struggling to put food on the table from increasing for the last three years. The program must not be cut in this way.
Congress has protected SNAP and reduced poverty in every deficit-reduction effort in the past three decades. It is our country’s moral responsibility to ensure that vulnerable children and families don’t go hungry. We must continue to protect this vital program from harmful cuts.
To take action, call 1-800-826-3688 and tell your member of Congress to protect SNAP in any efforts to reduce the deficit and oppose proposals such as the Lugar/Stutzman bill. Furthermore, while poverty and unemployment across the United States has increased, SNAP has helped keep the number of families struggling to put food on the table from increasing for the last three years, and every major deficit-reduction effort in the past three decades has protected SNAP and actually reduced poverty.
Christine Melendez Ashley is a policy analyst at Bread for the World.
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