Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Recess Delays Decision on SNAP


Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons/Scrumshus

This morning, Stateline, the daily news service of the Pew Center on the States posted an article by Jake Grovum which suggests that lack of action on the farm bill will delay deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), allowing more time to advocate for a circle of protection around nutrition programs.

Here are several salient excerpts:

[T]his week, congressional stalemate over a sweeping farm bill has set back the clock on impending budget cuts that had worried states and safety net advocates around the country.

With Congress’ August recess set to begin and little sign of a breakthrough on the farm bill in the near future, it’s increasingly likely that deep spending reductions contained in the measure will be put off for at least six months, and maybe even a year.

Safety net advocates are looking to turn Congress’ delay to their advantage, making a public case that deep food stamp cuts would pose new problems for the nation’s nutrition and health. In May, the latest month for which data is available, more than 46 million people were enrolled in SNAP, up from 28 million just four years ago. “There will continue to be pressures to cut the programs,” says Sophie Milam, director of nutrition assistance at Feeding America, “but the need for these programs will continue to be at these historic levels.”

The specifics will remain a subject of debate through August and into September. It’s still possible Congress could come together on a sweeping farm bill agreement — complete with food stamp cuts — before the current measure expires September 30. Food stamps could also figure into budget negotiations as Congress considers broader spending reductions slated for year’s end.

While the summer recess has temporarily delayed action on the farm bill, Congress will take up this issue when it returns in September. Now is the time to contact your representative and senators and let them know that you want them to commit to forming a circle of protection around programs that benefit hungry people.


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