Ranking Member McGovern: The Cruel Republican Farm Bill will Hurt the Most Vulnerable Americans

May 17, 2018

Ranking Member James P. McGovern

House Committee on Rules

Representing Massachusetts' 2nd District


Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Jeff Gohringer (202) 225-2888


Ranking Member McGovern: The Cruel Republican Farm Bill will Hurt the Most Vulnerable Americans


Calls legislation a transformation of our social safety net dressed up as a Farm Bill


**Video of his full speech is available online here**


WASHINGTON, DC — On the House Floor today, Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA) spoke out against the Republican Farm Bill, which would cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by more than $20 billion. These cuts would slash nutrition assistance for millions of people – including the most vulnerable among us – and cause many others to lose assistance entirely. The Republican Farm Bill proposes these drastic cuts to SNAP to pay for forcing states to implement an unproven and vastly under-funded workforce bureaucracy experiment.

“The process for this Farm Bill was a sham. In no way did it reflect the Agriculture Committee’s long bipartisan tradition,” said McGovern. “Over the last two and a half years, the Agriculture Committee held 23 hearings on SNAP. Apparently, they were just for show. Because not a single witness, Democrat or Republican, recommended any of the drastic cuts or draconian policy changes to SNAP included in this Republican Farm Bill.”

Over 40 million Americans, including working families, veterans, seniors and the disabled, struggle to put food on the table. SNAP is a vital tool to help struggling Americans get back on their feet and participation has steadily declined as economic conditions have improved because of its structure.

On average, SNAP households receive about $259 a month. The average SNAP benefit per person is about $128 per month, which works out to just $1.40 per person, per meal.

The Republican Farm Bill’s unproven and vastly under-funded workforce bureaucracy experiment would expand work requirements for poor parents while making millionaires and billionaires eligible for subsidies even if they don’t live or work on the farm.

This bill would provide states just $30 to train each person enrolled in the program per month at a time when the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has shown it costs between $7,500 and $14,000 per person to fund a robust and effective job training program.

“I think the Speaker viewed this bill as his one last chance to enact sweeping cuts to safety net programs before he retires. Even the number of this bill, H.R. 2, was always reserved by the Speaker for his so-called welfare reform bill. So I warn my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: make no mistake, this legislation is a transformation of our social safety net dressed up as a Farm Bill. It beats up, belittles and demonizes poor people all across this country. It doesn’t even try to put lipstick on this pig,” said McGovern.

Current law already mandates that adults between the ages of 18-49, who are able to work, are limited to three months of SNAP out of every three years. States can choose to waive this limit and have done so during times of high unemployment.

“The legislation we take up here should reflect our values. But this bill doesn’t reflect my values, Mr. Speaker. This is a Farm Bill that doesn’t even make significant improvements to our agricultural programs to help farmers, who are caught in the middle of the president’s trade war. It’s an attack on those living in poverty. It trades in stereotypes to justify shredding our social safety net. And it is hell-bent on making hunger worse in this country,” concluded McGovern.