Yesterday, in a party line vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018) that would make disastrous changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by imposing new draconian work requirements, making it harder for millions to feed their families.
But just because the committee approved this terrible bill, doesn't mean the full House will.
Make a call to Congress today at (202) 224-3121 and urge Representative Martha McSally to vote against any farm bill that contains cuts to SNAP funding or changes to eligibility.
We knew this attack on SNAP was coming. Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed deep cuts to SNAP's budget, and both the administration and some in Congress have shamefully misled the public on the program's "integrity"—ignoring the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) own data, which show that SNAP has one of the lowest rates of fraud of any federal program.
Research shows that SNAP works. The program serves 42 million people each year, lifting more than 3.5 million people out of poverty—many of them children—and has a proven record of reducing hunger and improving financial stability. We know that the majority of SNAP participants who can work, do work. Among SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than 80 percent work in the year before or after receiving SNAP, demonstrating that the program overwhelmingly supports workers who are temporarily between jobs or have insufficient income to make ends meet.
Moreover, the proposed changes would allow SNAP participants just one month to find employment before they lose their benefits for an entire year, even as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that securing a job within this time frame is an unattainable goal for most. The new work requirements won't do anything to address the root causes of poverty—and by reducing or eliminating SNAP benefits for an estimated two million people, the changes would exacerbate hunger and financial instability for communities that are already vulnerable.
This partisan House farm bill rejects the evidence on SNAP, and it also jeopardizes the entire farm bill process, which has historically proceeded in a spirit of political bipartisanship.
In the coming weeks, the farm bill will come to the full House floor for consideration, and every member of the House will vote on a bill that will shape our food system for years to come.
Representative McSally needs to hear from you that cuts to SNAP funding or changes to eligibility are unacceptable, and would hurt AZ communities. Call (202) 224-3121 today and demand that your representative stand up for SNAP. A switchboard operator will connect you directly to your represenative's office. You can use the talking points below.
From farm to fork, our food system should be one that we can be proud of, one that makes healthy food available for everyone. Please call your representative today!
- Tali Robbins, Union of Concerned Scientists
P.S. The farm bill is a massive piece of legislation that affects everything from the kinds of food you find in the grocery store and your children's school lunches, to the impacts of farming on the air you breathe and the water you drink. Want to know more about what's in the draft farm bill, how it affects you, and how you can help make it better? Join our experts on Facebook Live for all the details and answers to your questions about how this farm bill would shape every aspect of our food system, from farm to fork. Simply go to the UCS Facebook page on Monday, April 23, at 7:00 p.m. EDT to join. You can watch even if you aren't a member of Facebook, but to ask questions, you will have to be logged in.
TALKING POINTS TO GUIDE YOUR CALL
• Hello, my name is [YOUR FULL NAME] and I live in [CITY, STATE]. My zip code is [ZIP CODE].
• I'm calling about the farm bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018). Research shows that SNAP works exactly as it's supposed to, and I urge my representative to vote against any farm bill on the floor that contains cuts to SNAP funding or changes to eligibility.
• The proposed changes to SNAP would reduce or eliminate benefits for an estimated two million people, making it harder for families to get healthy food and exacerbating financial hardship for vulnerable communities.
• Thank you for your time.
If you reach voicemail, feel free to leave a message. Please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied.
There's another way:
Doctors Call for ‘Healthy Staples’ SNAP on Eve of House Farm Bill Draft
Cost-Saving Plan Would Provide Better Nutrition and Improved Health to Participants