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156 posts categorized "SNAP"
House Committee on Agriculture Passes Farm Bill with a $21 Billion Cut to SNAP: How the Members Voted
Bread for the World expressed outrage over the severe cuts to anti-hunger programs in a joint statement with Feeding America, United Way, and Catholic Relief Services.
The bill, which now goes to House leadership to be scheduled for a floor vote, would create hardship for families in the Unites States and have deadly consequences for families abroad. If enacted, it would:
- Remove 2 million SNAP recipients from the program
- Reduce SNAP benefits (by about $90 each month) for 850,000 households
- End free school meals for 210,000 children.
- Cut international food aid by $2.5 billion over 5 years—those cuts would include a 78 percent reduction in funding for improving the nutritional quality of food aid
During a very heated debate on the nutrition portion of the bill—a debate that included comments about churches taking primary responsibility for the care of hungry and poor people—Rep. Jim McGovern introduced an amendment to restore all cuts to the SNAP program. By a roll call vote, the amendment failed 17-27.
Bread for the World will continue to fight these cuts as the bill goes to the floor of the House. Domestic nutrition programs such as SNAP are the first line of defense against hunger and have proven effective in decreasing food insecurity during a weakened economy.
Members of the House Committee on Agriculture who voted to pass a bill with a $21 billion cut to the SNAP program. If your representative is on this list, we encourage you to call your member’s office or tag him or her in a tweet and let them know you are disappointed.
Members of the House Committee on Agriculture who voted to protect the programs for poor and hungry people that provide a place at the table for all. If your representative is on this list, we encourage you to call your member’s office or tag him or her in a tweet and thank them. (Asterisk indicates the member voted against the farm bill, but also voted against McGovern’s amendment).
Yesterday, the Senate Agriculture Committee marked up the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, commonly referred to as the farm bill. The draft of the bill amended by the committee will now be scheduled for a full Senate vote. We thank Bread for the World members who took the time to urge their senators on the agriculture committee to ensure a place at the table for hungry and poor people by opposing cuts to SNAP and international food aid.
The Senate version of the farm bill cuts SNAP (formerly food stamps) by $4.1 billion over five years, which would leave nearly 500,000 households without benefits. (In opening statements, Sens. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cowan (D-Mass.), Harkin (D-Iowa), and Brown (D-Ohio) spoke favorably of SNAP and nutrition programs).
Food aid fared better, with a proposed expansion of a program that creates flexibility in purchasing emergency food and includes provisions to improve the quality of food aid, particularly for mothers, children under five, and other target populations. International food aid provisions remain intact moving to floor debate and we will continue to ask senators to support those provisions.
The nutrition portion of the bill, under which SNAP is authorized, saw numerous amendments submitted for consideration, none of which made it through to the final version of the committee’s bill. Below is a summary of the amendments offered or mentioned in committee:
Today, the House Committee on Agriculture will consider a farm bill that would cut SNAP by more than $20 billion over ten years. While food pantries and churches do amazing work in feeding hungry people, their efforts cannot counteract that sort of blow to such a vital program. In 2011, federal nutrition programs delivered more than 23 times the amount of food assistance as did private charities.
Churches can't do it alone—the government must do its part.
Check out Bread for the World's fact sheet, "Churches and Hunger" to learn more about how SNAP cuts would tax churches, food banks, and private food charities beyond their limits. And if your representative sits on the House Committee on Agriculture, call 1-800-326-4941 today and tell him or her that cuts to SNAP are unacceptable.
The farm bill governs SNAP (formerly food stamps) and international food aid. Both are critical anti-hunger programs, and both are at risk of cuts deeper than those proposed in last year’s farm bill process. The House farm bill was just released over the weekend, and it cuts SNAP by more than $20 billion over ten years; it cuts international food aid by $2.5 billion over five years; and it cuts international food aid quality programs by 78 percent. If enacted, these cuts would have devastating consequences.
Time is short: the committee will consider its proposal on Wednesday. Call 1-800-326-4941 and tell your representative that
- Cuts to SNAP are unacceptable. The proposed cuts would kick as many as 3 million people from the program, reduce benefits for hundreds of thousands of households, and deprive 280,000 kids of school meals. I urge you to vote against any cuts to SNAP and support efforts to restore any cuts.
- I urge you to oppose cuts to food aid and support efforts to make the program more efficient while also targeting the nutritional needs of women and children in the thousand-day window from pregnancy to age 2. International food aid reached 66 million people hit by famine, disasters, and other emergencies. These cuts will cost lives and hinder our ability to effectively reach millions of people in need.
Cuts to these programs will mean no food on the table for millions of our brothers and sisters.
This week is critical as the Senate Agriculture Committee finalizes its farm bill. Call your representative today at 1-800-326-4941 or send an email now.
Thank you for using your voice to help ensure a place at the table for all God's people.
Photo: U.S. Capitol building by flickr user smaedli.
House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas released his first draft of the farm bill into committee on Friday. His draft would cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) by $20 billion over 10 years. In this weakened economy, need has increased and participation is high, because the safety net has responded as it should, but Rep. Lucas (R-Okla.) would change that with this bill.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), a member of the agriculture committee, said the bill “would make hunger worse and not better.” Last week the congressman gave his tenth End Hunger Now floor speech in advance of the chairman’s draft proposal.
Both the House and Senate will mark up the farm bill this week in their respective committees; the Senate on Tuesday, May 14, and the House on Wednesday, May 15. After the chair offers the first draft, committee members have the opportunity to propose and vote on any amendments, or changes, to the bill. Once a final version is voted out of committee, leadership then adds it to the schedule for a floor vote. Both House and Senate leadership have indicated they would like a farm bill on the summer agenda.
“We are supposed to help people, not hurt people,” said McGovern in his speech.” But if this farm bill goes forward with a $20 billion cut in SNAP, we will be hurting people— millions and millions of people in this country.”
Any cuts to SNAP would prove devastating for vulnerable Americans. SNAP participants are already facing a reduction in benefits—on Nov. 1, a temporary program boost that was included in the 2009 stimulus package will expire. Even more alarming: a recent Institute of Medicine study concluded that the way in which the benefit level is calculated for SNAP is inadequate for a healthy diet. Inadequate as existing levels are, just this expiration will reduce the average benefit to about $1.40 per person per meal, reports the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. Cutting the program by $20 billion over 10 years would reduce the benefit even further and increase food insecurity even more.
“Outraged” was a term McGovern used repeatedly in his speech. He responded to those who believe cuts would reduce participation. “SNAP isn’t a get-rich scheme,” he said. “People use SNAP to put food on their tables during difficult times. McGovern noted that many people who currently qualify for SNAP do work, but said “[t]he way to reduce the number of people on SNAP is by creating jobs—by helping to get this economy going again.”
In the Senate, the agriculture committee chairwoman’s farm bill draft included a $4.1 billion cut to the SNAP program, which would also create hardship for millions of families. We continue to ask Bread for the World members to call their senators and tell them to ask for a final version with no cuts.
Today, Bread for the World will launch a targeted action alert to our members who have representatives on the committee. During this short window of opportunity, we must get in as many calls as possible to the 44 members who sit on the House agriculture committee. As their constituents, we can demand a final draft that protects programs for hungry people. From Rep. Schrader in Oregon to Rep. Collins in New York, committee members across this nation must hear that any farm bill must help to end hunger now.
Photo: Alex Morris feeds her son, André, in their Bend, Ore., home. Alex depends on SNAP, WIC and other programs to care for André, who suffers from a serious medical condition that affects his hormonal system. (Brad Horn)
Update, 5/13/13: The Senate Agriculture Committee released a draft farm bill proposal on Friday, May 10, but it is not too late to call! If your senator is on the agriculture committee, call 1-800-326-4941 today and tell him or her to 1)Vote for any amendments that eliminate cuts to SNAP and vote against any amendments that cut SNAP, and 2)Vote against any amendments that cut international food aid.
Today we sent the following call to action to Bread for the World members whose senators sit on the Senate Agriculture Committee. These senators' voices will be critical in deciding how SNAP, international food aid, and other vital programs will provide for the needs of hungry and poor people in the future. If your member is on this committee, your voice will be critical in influencing him or her. The committee is comprised of 20 members, including chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); click here for the full roster.
By Eric Mitchell
The Senate Agriculture Committee is once again writing a farm bill, and they need to hear from you! Time is short before they release their proposal. The farm bill governs SNAP (formerly food stamps) and international food aid, critical anti-hunger programs. Both are at risk of devastating cuts.
If your senator sits on this committee, call him or her today to ensure a place at the table for hungry and poor people by protecting programs vital to them.
Call toll-free: 1-800-326-4941
Raise your voice and urge your senator to ensure a place at the table for hungry and poor people by protecting programs vital to them. Tell your senator to:
- Protect and strengthen SNAP. SNAP effectively and efficiently helps 47 million low-income Americans put food on the table. As unemployment and poverty have remained high, the number of families at risk of hunger has not increased since 2008. SNAP is functioning as it should.
- Improve international food aid in ways that make the program more efficient while also targeting the nutritional needs of women and children in the 1,000 day window from pregnancy to age 2. The emergency food aid program, Food for Peace, reached over 53 million people last year.
Cuts to these programs will mean no food on the table for millions of our brothers and sisters. Urge your senator to ensure a place at the table for hungry and poor people by opposing any cuts to SNAP and international food aid.
This week is critical as the Senate Agriculture Committee finalizes its farm bill. Call your senator at 1-800-326-4941 or send an email today. Please contact your senator no later than Friday, May 10.
Thank you for using your voice to help ensure a place at the table for all God's people.
Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.
By Alice Walker Duff
How will you honor your mother this Mother’s Day? What will you do to let your mom, grandmas, aunties, and mentors know that you learned their lessons of love and care for others?
This Mother's Day, honor your mom, and all the amazing women in your life, by telling Congress to stand up for mothers. Congress can act quickly and decisively—its members recently fixed flight delays caused by sequestration cuts. But nutrition and other programs that help moms in the United States and around the world are still on the chopping block.
There’s only one way to fix this and protect mothers and children from harmful cuts!
Email Congress right now and tell your senators and representative to stop these cuts and instead enact a balanced, responsible budget deal that protects our mothers, our children, and our economy. As a thank you, we will send a free e-card to any of the women in your life. We will let them know that you honor them by standing with mothers everywhere!
Mothers protect us. Make sure Congress protects them! Email Congress now and celebrate Mother's Day in a way that makes a difference. Together, we can make sure that mothers and children in the United States and around the world have the nutrition they need to thrive.
Thank you for joining me in standing with mothers everywhere.Alice Walker-Duff is Bread for the World's managing director.
After seeing the documentary A Place at the Table, Lori Abshire participated in a SNAP challenge and her church's Offering of Letters. Photo: Participants at the National Hunger-Free Communities Summit watch a preview of A Place at the Table. (Amanda Lucidon for Bread for the World)
By Lori Abshire
This winter I took a poverty class at my church, King Avenue United Methodist. The class, led by Pastor John, was amazing and touched my heart in many ways, but I was overwhelmed by what I learned. What could I do to make a difference when faced with such an enormous problem? The class culminated in a trip to see the documentary A Place at the Table, which highlights the hunger epidemic in the United States.
The documentary shook me to my core. I couldn’t get the image of Rosie, a 12-year-old Colorado girl, out of my head. “ I struggle a lot,” Rosie said in the documentary. “Most of the time it is because my stomach is really hurting and I zone out. I’m just looking at the teacher and all I am thinking about is food.” I had to do something so I decided for the first time I would be one of “those people” on Facebook—I was going to make people aware of the facts about food insecurity and food stamps, or SNAP.
This is a personal issue for me. My family had to be on food stamps when I was growing up. My mom worked hard—there wasn’t a lazy bone in her body—but we couldn’t make it sometimes without food stamps. I am thankful that safety net was there for us. Growing up, I thought anyone with a full refrigerator was wealthy. I will never forget the first time, as an adult, that my refrigerator was full. I had learned by then that it didn't make you wealthy, but I was grateful.
A couple weeks ago, Pastor John spoke about seeing things through Jesus’ eyes. I tried to see this issue that way. I made a commitment to stick to a SNAP food budget for a week, starting Monday, March 25. Can you guess the food stamp allotment for an adult for seven days? It’s about $31 per adult, per week—or $4.45 a day.
I went to Wal-Mart to get the cheapest prices. I tried to make the best choices possible. Produce was so expensive, but I was lucky to be able to buy a banana for each day, an apple, and two oranges. I couldn’t believe the apple I bought was 83 cents!
The only meat I was able to purchase was two cans of tuna. My protein sources were milk, yogurt, peanut butter, black beans, and that tuna.
I can certainly see why someone would buy a bag of chips for $1.50 instead of the carrots I bought. Chips have 800 plus calories and my carrots had maybe 200 total. I can see why people make the choices they make.
I did this to help educate our children and my friends and family. I found that I was OK with being one of those people on Facebook. I opened up a lot of dialogue. I hope I opened some people’s eyes. Hopefully, they started to see things through Jesus’ eyes.
We live in the world’s wealthiest nation, yet more than 50 million Americans struggle to put food on the table. My church has conducted an Offering of Letters, asking our president and members of Congress to enact a plan to end hunger. I hope you’ll join us.
Lori Abshire attends King Avenue United Methodist Church and lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Bread’s 2013 Offering of Letters, “A Place at the Table,” is in full swing and your letters and phone calls are influencing Congress. Below is a list of current proposed legislation affecting programs for hungry and poor people.
The House and Senate Agriculture Committees are busy drafting their respective farm bills. Both committees are aiming to mark up their bills by mid-May. It is very likely both committees will include cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Last year, the Senate proposed to cut SNAP by $4.5 billion over ten years and the House by $16 billion over ten years. International food aid programs are also at risk. Last year, the Senate included much needed reforms to the programs while the House cut food aid quality programs by over 95 percent. Now is the time to reach out to members of Congress on the Agriculture Committees to voice our support for these vital programs.
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) recently reintroduced a resolution in support of SNAP, H. Res. 90. This resolution is very similar to H. Res. 760, which was introduced last year and had more than 100 cosponsors. Currently, H. Res. 90 has 102 cosponsors and we are urging more members to sign on to show strong support for SNAP as the Agriculture Committees work on their farm bills.Act Now: Call your senators and representative today at 1-800-326-4941, or send them an email, and tell them to protect and strengthen SNAP!
In April, the House and the Senate passed their fiscal year 2014 budget resolutions and the White House released its budget. Both the Senate’s and president’s budgets would replace the sequester, the automatic across-the-board cuts that started to take effect in March. For more on sequestration basics, see the graphic on the back page of this newsletter and download our fact sheet “The Consequences of Sequestration” from the Bread website.
President Obama’s proposal is based on his last offer to House Speaker John Boehner during the fiscal cliff negotiations. It raises revenue while cutting some entitlements. The president’s budget also includes a proposal for reforming food aid, which could enable up to 4 million more people to be reached with comparable resources while saving approximately $500 million over the next 10 years.
The House and Senate are now negotiating a process whereby a single compromised version of the budget is agreed upon by both chambers. This could provide a path for the grand bargain and a replacement of the sequester.
The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are both moving on tax reform. House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has issued a series of overhaul proposals over the past two years and has promised legislation for a comprehensive rewrite by the end of the year. And Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has been holding meetings with Camp and other Republicans.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) have been topics of discussion within both committees. Bread for the World has sent a letter to the Ways and Means Committee, stressing the importance of these refundable tax credits. Bread members who have senators and representatives on those committees will need to be especially persistent in contacting their members as we continue to urge Congress to increase revenue so we can adequately fund programs that help people who are hungry or living in poverty.
This update originally appeared in the May/June edition of Bread for the World's e-newsletter.
Photo: Bread members and staff on Capitol Hill for 2011 Lobby Day. (William Johnson)
A group of advocates that included (l to r) John Levy of Heart Ministry Center, Beatty Brasch, of the Center for People in Need, Scott Young of the Food Bank of Lincoln, and Bread for the World Hunger Justice Leader Kaela Volkmer, visited the office of Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), and encouraged him to protect and strengthen SNAP.
By Kristin Ostrom and Kaela Volkmer
Just one week before the scheduled congressional debate on the farm bill and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), a diverse team of leaders met with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) in Omaha to talk about SNAP. Sen. Johanns is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and former Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush. Bread for the World Hunger Justice Leader Kaela Volkmer organized and facilitated the April 30 meeting with the senator, who was joined by his state director Nancy Johner and agriculture policy assistant Ben Connor. We are grateful for the senator’s time and attention and for Nancy Johner’s assistance in scheduling the meeting.
The team urged Sen. Johanns to protect and strengthen SNAP in the upcoming farm bill debates and to reject amendments that could reduce SNAP's ability to meet the needs of hungry people. Kaela also referred the senator to a letter she delivered several months earlier. The letter, which was signed by more than fifty faith and community leaders in Nebraska, lifted up SNAP as an efficient and effective investment in helping to meet the most basic need for food during difficult times.
The meeting was positive and cordial, and the team felt Sen. Johanns was receptive to their points. They came well-prepared with stories and stats to bolster their ask that Sen. Johanns protect and strengthen SNAP and reject farm bill amendments that would cut SNAP. Johanns confirmed the team was meeting with him at the exact right time for this issue!