August 14, 2013
Susan Davis Urges the House to Act on Nutrition Programs
to Fight Hunger
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and 204 of her colleagues urged the House Majority to not abandon our nation’s poor and hungry. In a letter to the Speaker of the House, they laid out the consequences of not passing the nutritional portion of the Farm Bill to reauthorize the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Programs like SNAP keep people from falling deeper into poverty and help them as they work their way into the middle class,” said Davis. “We know that a strong middle class creates a strong economy. The last thing we need to do is hinder our economic growth by ending programs that help lift people out of poverty and give them a leg up into the middle class. I would hope the House Majority would come to this realization and not abandon these Americans.”
The SNAP program ensures that struggling families hit hardest by the economic downturn do not go hungry. Cutting SNAP would greatly endanger the well-being of many American families – particularly millions of children.
Despite decades of precedent of including SNAP in the Farm Bill, it was stripped out of the House version to appease far-right conservatives. Prior to the House action, the Senate passed its version on a strong bipartisan vote of 64-35.
The full letter is as follows:
August 13, 2013
The Honorable John Boehner
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our country’s most critical anti-hunger program, helping more than 47 million Americans meet their basic food needs at a time when more than 50 million Americans face the threat of food insecurity. Nearly half of SNAP enrollees are children, and the program helps feed roughly one in three children in America. Additionally, almost 75 percent of SNAP participants are in households with children, seniors, or a disabled individual.
More than half of the average household’s SNAP allocation is used within 7 days, and by the third week of the month 90 percent of SNAP benefits have been redeemed, leaving many families without the resources they need to buy food. This inadequacy causes an added burden on food banks, as nearly 60 percent of the households receiving SNAP and using food banks have to rely on food banks at least 6 months a year. In addition, under current law each household participating in SNAP will see a benefit reduction when the temporary increase from the Recovery Act expires. This means that, beginning November 1st, each SNAP enrollee will see a cut to their benefit that is, on average, less than $1.50 per meal.
Unfortunately, the Republican leadership recently forced through a Farm Bill reauthorization, H.R. 2642, which did not include the nutrition title, a major part of the Farm Bill that would reauthorize SNAP. We voted against this bill in large part because of this intentional omission. We strongly believe in the critical importance of SNAP. Given the essential nature of this program to millions of American families, the final language of the Farm Bill or any other legislation related to SNAP must be crafted to ensure that we do not increase hunger in America.