Today Dr. Raul Ruiz joined a bipartisan majority in the House to reject the House version of the Farm Bill, which would have made significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill failed by a margin of 195-234.
"The Coachella Valley has been hit hard by the recession, and hunger and food insecurity continue to be critical problems facing our communities," said Dr. Ruiz. "SNAP ensures that so many of our most vulnerable children, seniors, and families can put food on their tables. Children should not go hungry because of Washington's dysfunction. Both Democrats and Republicans sent a message today that we can do better than this, and I urge my colleagues to come together to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that provides certainty to our farmers, makes smart and fiscally responsible investments in agriculture, and protects our communities and families from food insecurity."
The SNAP program, which has a long history of bipartisan support, protects more than 46 million Americans who are at risk of food insecurity, including nearly 20 million children. The House version of the Farm Bill would have eliminated SNAP assistance for approximately 2 million Americans.
"The House proposal would cut SNAP by $20.5 billion over the next 10 years," said Lisa Houston, President and CEO of FIND Food Bank in Indio. "That's a loss of 8 billion meals, or the meal equivalent of the entire Feeding America network of food banks shutting down for 2.5 years. We cannot let this happen! Imagine here in our own community if the 10 million pounds we distributed dried up to 2.5 years. That's 25 million pounds of food people wouldn't have access to. Reaching out to your elected officials is the only way to have a voice in stopping food insecurity. We thank Dr. Ruiz for opposing this bill and voting in the best interest of those who are struggling with food insecurity."
"Cutting money from the Food Stamp Program would adversely impact the working and unemployed poor of Coachella Valley," said John Wolohan, Director of Martha's Village and Kitchen in Indio. "I urge the continuation of this much needed program. The need for the families we serve has never been greater."