With critical food assistance funds slated to decrease by approximately $50 per month for Ohio families, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on state and federal officials to work together to help prevent unnecessarily severe cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Currently, 1.7 million Ohioans rely on SNAP benefits--forcing many to seek help at already overburdened food banks and hurting Ohio's small businesses where SNAP benefits are accepted.
"Too many Ohio families struggle to put food on the table," Brown said. "The SNAP program provides critical assistance for Ohioans who would otherwise go hungry. During the holiday season--and year-round-- we must ensure that Ohio children and families receive the nutrition they need. That's why it's important Ohio and Federal official work together to ensure Ohio families receive the benefits they need."
Brown and U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Tim Ryan (OH-17), Betty Sutton (OH-13), Steven C. LaTourette (OH-14), and Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10) today wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin W. Concannon and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Michael B. Colbert.
In determining SNAP benefits and eligibility, a variety of factors are considered, including: energy, housing, and child care costs. States have flexibility in determining how some of these factors are calculated and charting how they change from year to year. Because States and the USDA have some flexibility, this bipartisan group called on Concannon and Colbert to work together to ensure that the data used is accurate while avoiding unnecessary cuts to Ohio's most vulnerable citizens.
Brown is the first Ohioan on Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years and serves as Chairman of its Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation. During Senate consideration of the 2012 farm bill, Brown fought to protect critical food assistance programs, including SNAP, from draconian cuts while improving program integrity and emphasizing the importance of increasing all Ohioans' access to healthy, affordable, fresh food.