WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2013 – Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., led 204 fellow House Democrats today in calling on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to include nutrition funding in the next farm bill.
The letter to the speaker reiterated the House Democratic Caucus’ belief “in the critical importance” of the food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (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,” the lawmakers wrote.
In July, House Republicans managed to pass a farm-only piece of legislation after an earlier attempt to include a nutrition title failed. While Democrats argued the $20 billion cut over ten years included in the House Agriculture Committee’s bill was too steep, a number of Republicans felt the reductions were not dramatic enough.
A new Republican proposal, announced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is said to include $40 billion in cuts.
The Senate-passed farm bill includes $4 billion in cuts.
When Congress returns in September, the House will have nine legislative days to pass their own bill and conference with the Senate before the current extension of the 2008 farm bill expires at the close of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30.
The full text of the House Democrats’ letter is below:
The Honorable John Boehner
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 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.
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