Ranking Member McGovern Urges Republicans to Defeat the Farm Bill, Which Would Hurt the Most Vulnerable Americans

May 17, 2018

Ranking Member James P. McGovern

House Committee on Rules

Representing Massachusetts' 2nd District


Thursday, May 17, 2018


Jeff Gohringer (202) 225-2888


Ranking Member McGovern Urges Republicans to Defeat the Farm Bill, Which Would Hurt the Most Vulnerable Americans


Says the legislation is a transformation of our social safety net


**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. Ranking Member McGovern urged the House to reject this partisan bill, which would hurt families across the country.

“This entire bill is an embarrassment, and this manager’s amendment only makes it worse. It should be scrapped and sent back to the Agriculture Committee where we can have real, bipartisan negotiations and craft a bill that actually helps people. Because despite some changes around the margins, the Republican Farm Bill remains an unmitigated disaster,” said McGovern. “What’s at stake with the Republican Farm Bill goes well beyond just numbers on a page.”

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, the chronically homeless, 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 of an important state flexibility option called categorical eligibility.

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 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 would decimate this proven program while implementing an 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.

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.

“Take a moment to think about what you are doing here. My Republican colleagues are denying food benefits to veterans, single dads struggling to find work, and working moms. Why? Because Paul Ryan asked you to? Because of a myth that people aren’t struggling? It’s sickening,” continued McGovern. “If Republicans want to hurt our workers and denigrate the poor they’re going to have to do it alone. Because make no mistake about it, that’s what this bill is designed to do. And that’s what it will do unless the responsible adults in the Republican Party join us in defeating it.”