Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), along with a united 204 House Democrats, called on Speaker John Boehner to stop turning his back on America's hungry children and families. In a letter, they implored the Speaker to include funding for nutrition programs in any future Farm Bill that comes before the House of Representatives.
Every representative and delegate who wrote to the Speaker opposed the version of the Farm Bill that passed the House of Representatives last month that failed to include any funding for nutrition programs, as the Farm Bill traditionally has for more than four decades.
"Recently, the Republican-led Congress turned its back on millions of hungry Americans by passing a Farm Bill that intentionally excluded SNAP funding," said Rep. Payne, Jr. "For forty years, the Farm Bill has balanced providing assistance to our farmers with nutrition assistance to struggling families in cities and towns alike. I implore my Republican colleagues to do the right thing and fully fund SNAP because the 50 million hungry families, children, and disabled cannot afford to wait any longer."
The full letter is as follows:
August 13, 2013
The Honorable John Boehner
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our country's most critical anti-hunger program, helping more than 47 million Americans meet their basic food needs at a time when more than 50 million Americans face the threat of food insecurity. Nearly half of SNAP enrollees are children, and the program helps feed roughly one in three children in America. Additionally, almost 75 percent of SNAP participants are in households with children, seniors, or a disabled individual.
More than half of the average household's SNAP allocation is used within 7 days, and by the third week of the month 90 percent of SNAP benefits have been redeemed, leaving many families without the resources they need to buy food. This inadequacy causes an added burden on food banks, as nearly 60 percent of the households receiving SNAP and using food banks have to rely on food banks at least 6 months a year. In addition, under current law each household participating in SNAP will see a benefit reduction when the temporary increase from the Recovery Act expires. This means that, beginning November 1st, each SNAP enrollee will see a cut to their benefit that is, on average, less than $1.50 per meal.
Unfortunately, the Republican leadership recently forced through a Farm Bill reauthorization, H.R. 2642, which did not include the nutrition title, a major part of the Farm Bill that would reauthorize SNAP. We voted against this bill in large part because of this intentional omission. We strongly believe in the critical importance of SNAP. Given the essential nature of this program to millions of American families, the final language of the Farm Bill or any other legislation related to SNAP must be crafted to ensure that we do not increase hunger in America.