ERS defines “food-insecure households” as those that “had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food” for all their members.
Typically, the agency says, those households experience the condition in seven months of the year, for a few days in each of those months.
The report also found 5.7 percent of U.S. households (7 million) had very low food security, such that families were forced to disrupt their normal eating patterns due to limited resources. That number has also remained consistent since 2009.
Anti-hunger groups and congressional Democrats alike linked yesterday’s release to those food stamp cuts, accusing GOP members –particularly those in the House – of attempting to slash social safety net benefits even as food insecurity numbers remain static.
The USDA figures are “tragic,” Agriculture Committee member Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, said in an email. She cautioned colleagues against putting “our heads in the sand and [thinking] that by cutting nutrition programs even more, somehow we will be a better, stronger nation for it.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who led House Democrats in pressing Speaker John Boehner on food stamps last month, also chimed in, calling on Republican leadership to “stop the dangerous path it is currently on.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack vowed to “continue to deliver a strong nutrition program” even as his subtly wagged a finger at congressional Republicans. It is “not the time for cuts to the SNAP program that would disqualify millions of Americans and threaten a rise in food insecurity,” he said in a statement.
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