All children deserve healthy food so they can thrive. But the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have reached agreement on a farm bill that makes harmful cuts to Basic Food, our state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.
These cuts would harm Washington’s kids. That’s why the Children’s Alliance has asked the White House to veto the Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill cut would come on top of the Nov. 1 cut in federal stimulus funding, and after a 2012 reduction in State Food Assistance. We’re working hard to restore equal benefits for ALL Washington families by working in Olympia to bring State Food Assistance benefits up to par with Basic Food.
Over the next year, these new federal cuts will squeeze the food budgets of nearly a quarter million of Washington’s 2.6 million families by as much as $90 per month. That’s a whole lot of money that won’t be spent in our local communities, since every time a household spends $5 in SNAP benefits, it generates $9 in local economic activity.
Of all the states hurt by new restrictions on food assistance in the Farm Bill, Washington’s will be among the most severely affected—primarily because it eliminates a federal provision known as “heat and eat,” which our state government has been using to efficiently reach more hungry families. Through heat and eat, households needing help with their utility bills were connected to food assistance as well.
We are not the lone opposition to this bill; two of our state’s Congressional representatives took courageous stands against the passage of the Farm Bill, specifically citing the damage that cuts to SNAP would do to families and children. Here’s what Rep. Adam Smith said upon its House-Senate passage:
SNAP “is as important now as it has ever been. With our economy continuing to recover and many Americans still searching for employment, I could not support legislation that takes essential nutrition support away from people who desperately need it.”
And here is a statement by Rep. Jim McDermott:
“SNAP benefits don’t just keep kids from going hungry; they improve health, help lift people out of poverty and even support the very farm jobs this bill is supposed to encourage. This Farm Bill “isn’t moral and it isn’t fiscally responsible.”