No More SNAP Cuts
On Friday, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, colloquially known as food stamps) will face a funding cut of $5 billion. This is due to an expiration of the SNAP benefit increase in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus package passed in 2009, but it highlights a very real issue continuing to affect millions of Americans.
Despite attempts by advocates to extend the funding at current post-stimulus levels, Congress decided to let this particular funding provision expire. The $5 billion cut that will go into effect tomorrow will hit families hard and some will no longer be able to stretch their dollars for even 3 weeks, let alone four. Even with the boost, SNAP benefits typically only last about 3 weeks into the month for many families. The choice to allow this funding to expire has many around the country infuriated, however there are greater threats to SNAP looming in Congress.
Earlier this week, a conference committee consisting of 41 lawmakers from both chambers held their first hearing to negotiate the different $500 billion five-year reauthorization Farm Bills passed by the House and the Senate. One of the most arduous tasks in front of the committee is closing a $35 billion gap between the two chambers on SNAP—the Senate bill cuts $4.1 billion from SNAP the House version slashes a whopping $39 billion. Depending on the final bill, the committee has the potential to devastate families throughout the country and pile on to the struggles that will follow the expiration of the stimulus funding. The $39 billion cut in the House bill would throw at least 4 million Americans off SNAP, the very program that raised 4.7 million Americas out of poverty in 2011.
The message of the Reform Movement and our allies has been “no more cuts.” The loss of $5 billion tomorrow is enough to cause devastation for families already struggling to put food on the table. As the conference committee gets started on this gigantic piece of legislation, the Reform Movement will continue to fight for the millions of Americans who would lose their SNAP benefits.
Our tradition commands us to advocate on behalf of those in need— and the time to fulfill that obligation has come. As SNAP faces an immediate $5 billion cut, take action to encourage Congress to protect this vital benefit program.