U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, today voted against legislation that threatens the health and economic security of New Mexico's children, seniors, veterans and families struggling with poverty and hunger.
The 2013 Farm Bill (H.R. 1947) would slash about $20.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, during the next decade in the name of misguided deficit reduction.
"The SNAP program provides crucial support to families in New Mexico that struggle to make ends meet," said Rep. Lujan Grisham. "Congress needs to focus on creating jobs to grow the economy instead of taking food out of the mouths of the one-in-five New Mexicans who depend on these benefits for basic nutrition and economic security. Until now, nutrition programs such as SNAP have not been unfairly singled out by Congress for deficit reduction because of historically bipartisan support to end poverty and hunger."
Research shows that SNAP reduces food insecurity, and in so doing, improves health. For example, adults with access to a nutritious diet are less than half as likely as food insecure adults to develop diabetes. Food insecurity has particularly negative impacts on children, affecting educational performance and mental and behavioral health. These negative effects follow children into adulthood; lack of educational attainment, fewer work hours and poorer health associated with poverty cost our economy about $170 billion each year.
"I know how important the Farm Bill is to New Mexico's farmers and ranchers, but I cannot support legislation that would allow children and their families to go hungry," said Rep. Lujan Grisham. "I look forward to supporting a Farm Bill that passes the Senate with more investments in the SNAP program. We need to make New Mexico families our top priority."
During today's Agriculture Committee meeting, Rep. Lujan Grisham introduced the following amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill to:
Restore funding for water, waste disposal and wastewater facility grants
These grants and projects are essential for health safety and economic development, especially for states such as New Mexico suffering from severe drought. This amendment was adopted.
Support socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers
This program would provide outreach services to strengthen participation of historically underserved farmers and ranchers in USDA programs. This amendment was withdrawn during debate.
Prohibit horse slaughter for human consumption
There are significant food safety issues associated with horse meat that have yet to be addressed. In addition, it is saddening that thousands of horses, a majestic fixture of the American West, could be methodically and inhumanely put to death. This amendment was withdrawn during debate.
Remove cuts to nutrition education
In New Mexico's poorer communities, nutrition education teaches families how to purchase and prepare nutritious meals with limited funds and limited food choices. This amendment was not adopted.