On November 1, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be cut for every single participant in America. A temporary boost to the program provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will end Friday, cutting aid to all SNAP recipients. In all, 23 million households and 22 million children and 9 million senior or disabled Americans will see their benefits reduced. The average benefit will drop to less than $1.40 per meal per person.
As these cuts take place, the House-Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee has begun negotiations to reconcile the two versions of the legislation. The Senate-passed bill (S. 954) includes a $4.1 billion cut to SNAP over 10 years. The House-passed bill (H.R. 3102), in contrast, would slash SNAP by $39 billion – eliminating nutritional support for 3.8 million hungry Americans. In the next few weeks, Members of Congress on the Conference Committee will be faced with a simple question, how drastically should we cut SNAP?
Congress is taking vulnerable Americans towards a food cliff. With a confluence of major decisions on nutrition and agriculture policy, Congress is poised to undo much of the food safety net. The primary target is SNAP. Nearly 75% of SNAP participants are in families with children. Of the 22 million children who receive SNAP benefits, 10 million live in deep poverty, with family incomes below half the poverty line. With unemployment still high and so many Americans still struggling to meet their families’ basic need for food, now is not the time to slash a critical, effective anti-hunger program.
The approaching food cliff is both an economic and moral crisis. We are reminded by Isaiah 58:10, “If you offer your compassion to the hungry and satisfy the famished creature, then shall your light shine in darkness.”
Join us and urge Congress to turn away from the food cliff – no more cuts to SNAP!
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