Ranking Member McGovern: Passage of Partisan Farm Bill a Sad Day for Struggling Americans Trying to Improve Their Lives

Jun 21, 2018

Ranking Member James P. McGovern

House Committee on Rules

Representing Massachusetts' 2nd District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, June 21, 2018

CONTACT

Jeff Gohringer (202) 225-2888

 

Ranking Member McGovern: Passage of Partisan Farm Bill a Sad Day for Struggling Americans Trying to Improve Their Lives

Partisan bill would shred our social safety net

WASHINGTON, DC —Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA) released the following statement in reaction to passage of the Republican Farm Bill in the House today. This partisan bill would cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by more than $20 billion. These cuts would slash nutrition assistance for millions of people – including working families, children, and the most vulnerable among us – and cause many others to lose assistance entirely.

“This is a sad day for struggling Americans trying to put food on their tables. After months of demonizing the poor and trading in disgusting stereotypes, this Republican House finally mustered the votes to pass this partisan Farm Bill. Republican leaders had to buy off the Freedom Caucus’ support by killing the bipartisan immigration discharge petition earlier today to make passage possible. This bill does nothing to actually strengthen agriculture programs or help farmers caught in the president’s trade war. It is nothing more than an attack on our social safety net. It cuts SNAP by more than $20 billion, slashing assistance for millions of people and cutting many people off entirely. It would cause more than a million Americans to lose food assistance over the next decade, many of them families with kids. By causing 265,000 kids to lose access to free school meals, Republicans are acting more like playground bullies taking kids’ lunch money rather than responsible legislators. Republicans are using these cuts to nationalize an unproven and underfunded state-based workforce bureaucracy experiment.

“I hope the bipartisan process in the Senate leads to a better bill that strengthens our farm safety net and anti-hunger programs so this attack on our most vulnerable never reaches the president’s desk,” concluded McGovern

The Republican Farm Bill would cut SNAP benefits that families rely on to buy groceries by more than $20 billion. That includes slashing benefits for vulnerable adults like veterans, chronically homeless individuals, and teenagers aging out of foster care by $9.2 billion. It includes a provision that would take benefits away from nearly a million people – mostly from working families with kids – by eliminating an important state flexibility option called categorical eligibility.

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

The vast majority of people on SNAP who are able to work, do work. Current SNAP law already includes strict work requirements and time limits, forcing able-bodied adults off of benefits for three years after only three months on the program if they are unable to find work. States have the flexibility to waive this limit and have done so during times of high unemployment. The House Agriculture Committee received testimony from expert witnesses who called upon Congress to extend the amount of time able-bodied adults have access to benefits – not further restrict it, as this bill does.

Over 40 million Americans, including working families, veterans, seniors and the disabled, struggle to put food on the table. Today, SNAP is a vital tool to help 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.

 

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