[Episcopal Public Policy Network] Following the defeat of the House of Representatives farm bill last June, House leadership divided the agriculture and nutrition titles of the farm bill into two separate pieces of legislation for another vote. The agriculture titles passed, and the House is now preparing to vote on the nutrition provision, titled the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. This bill will specify funding levels for America’s largest anti-hunger program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Your voice is needed now more than ever. The House nutrition bill authorizes a $40 billion dollar cut to SNAP, an unprecedented cut that would significantly reduce eligibility for low-income families in the United States to access nutritional support. These cuts would exacerbate the effects of an across-the-board benefit reduction for all SNAP participants -including 22 million children -set to begin November 1st when a temporary provision of the 2009 Recovery Act expires.
A $40 billion cut to SNAP could rob six million Americans of vital food assistance, pulling the safety net out from beneath struggling families. Seventy-six percent of SNAP recipients are children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, and the reduction will be particularly painful to these individuals who are most in need of SNAP. Such a drastic cut will also require churches and charities to nearly double their food aid for the next ten years to compensate for the loss in SNAP funding.
As Episcopalians, we advocate for the poor, and support government programs that create a viable safety net for these vulnerable populations. The United States’ largest anti-hunger program, SNAP draws a circle of protection around impoverished communities, granting hungry families both the food and the hope that they need to survive. Now is not the time to diminish this crucial program that lifts Americans out of poverty.