Farm Bill Means Less Food for Struggling Households
Statement attributable to DC Hunger Solutions Director Alex Ashbrook
Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202.986.2200 x3018
Washington, D.C. ó February 5, 2014 ó The Farm Bill passed yesterday by the Senate will cut SNAP benefits to an estimated 850,000 households by an average of $90/month. DC Hunger Solutions has opposed the SNAP cuts because they will harm too many of the most vulnerable members of our community, making monthly food allotments fall even further short of what is needed for seniors, people with disabilities, children, low-income workers, and unemployed people. We appreciate the efforts of the many members of the House and Senate, the many national, state and local groups, and the many editorial writers and social media outlets that have opposed these cuts and spoken to the importance of defending already-inadequate SNAP benefits against these and other cuts.
SNAP is essential to the nutrition, health and well-being of 47 million Americans each month. In DC alone, over 135,000 residents rely on SNAP. Just a year ago, an Institute of Medicine committee found that SNAP benefits are already inadequate for most families to purchase a healthy diet throughout the month. IOM acknowledged flaws in how benefits are calculated and outlined possible strategies to remedy the problem. At the same time, a spate of studies over the last year has shown how important adequate monthly benefits are to health and well-being, and how inadequate benefits drive up hospital admissions and various other costs.
It is past time for Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the White House to confront this problem and move toward a SNAP program with adequate benefits. SNAP benefits and SNAP nutrition education spending now have been cut four times in three and a half years. The result is harm to health, early childhood development, productivity, and learning. Fixing the problem of inadequate SNAP benefits is essential to DCís social, economic, and fiscal goals.