Farm Bill Update – New House Proposal

Last week, House Republican Leadership announced that a working group led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has agreed on a framework for a House nutrition-only bill that includes $40 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years, nearly double the amount of cuts included in the House Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill that was defeated in June.

The proposal includes the SNAP funding cuts and policy changes in the committee-passed bill ($20.5 billion in cuts), and will also retain amendments that were adopted on the House floor, which included much deeper cuts and draconian provisions like work requirements and time limits (3 months of benefits every 3 years) for adults without children (Able-bodied Adults Without Dependants, or ABAWDs), and perverse incentives, like funding for states that kick people off the rolls.

The House has not yet voted on their version of the Nutrition-only Farm Bill. Congress is now in recess until Sept. 9 – all members are at home now.

Take Action:

Contact your member’s home district office – speak up against the House proposals and send a clear message: “NO CUTS TO SNAP. Protect SNAP in the Farm Bill and any other legislative vehicles.”

Make sure your Congress member understands how important SNAP is to your clients and your fight against hunger in WA!

Reps. DeLauro and McGovern created a Congressional sign on letter of support for SNAP that has circulated since the passage in July of the Ag-only Farm Bill. Over 100 members signed on, including all of Washington’s Democrats and none of our Republicans in Congress.

Take Action:

Thank your member if she/he signed on to the SNAP letter of support.

Using Traditional and Social Media to get out messages supporting SNAP:

  • Congress members need to understand how hunger impacts their constituents: write an op-ed or letter to the editor in your local paper.
  • Join @MomsRising, @APlaceAtTheTable, @FRACtweets and the hashtag #FoodFri for a Tweetchat on Friday, Aug. 9
  • Tweet a Fact-a-Day about SNAP: FRAC will be tweeting every day during recess about how #SNAPworks or how #SNAPcuts will impact local communities
  • #FarmBill and #EndHungerNow are other great ways to spread your message via Twitter

ARRA and Food Stamps in the News:
Two new reports came out last week: a USDA report on food prices, ARRA and hunger; and, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report on impact on SNAP benefits when ARRA boost ends in November 2013.

USDA released a report, “Effects of the Decline in the Real Value of SNAP Benefits from 2009 – 2011” (August 2013): Food prices increased from 2009-11, so though 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided a temporary boost in food stamp benefit levels, the increase in benefits was less than the increase in food prices. The net loss in benefit value resulted in an increase in hunger across the U.S. (For more details, the report and summary can be found here.) Additionally, the ARRA boost in benefits is set to expire for all recipients in November, 2013 – likely further adding to hunger in America as a result. For more info, the full report is here.

CBPP released updated information about the impact of ARRA’s boost to food stamp benefits ending in November, when all households will see a cut in benefits. The full report and graphs are here.