In Focus: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
May 13, 2013 | Permalink »
Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Result in Millions of Empty Dinner Tables
Update (6/11/2013): On the evening of June 10th, the Senate approved a 5 year Farm Bill by a vote of 66 to 27. The bill contains over $4 billion in cuts to SNAP. The House of Representatives is expected to bring their Farm Bill (with nearly $21 billion in cuts to SNAP) to the floor the week of June 17th.
Update (5/22/2013): The full Senate began consideration of the Farm Bill on Monday, May 20th. The Senate is considering amendments to the bill, many of which propose to make further cuts into SNAP. Contact your Senator now to urge that they protect SNAP and VOTE NO on amendments that would weaken SNAP!
Update (5/20/2013): The Senate Agriculture Committee debated the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (also known as the Farm Bill) and voted on amendments on Tuesday, May 14th. The bill, which includes over $4 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was passed in committee by a 15-5 vote. The bill will next go to the Senate floor for further debate as early as May 20th.
The House Agriculture Committee debated the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act on May 15th. The bill was approved in committee by a vote of 36-10 and is expected to be taken up by the full House in June. The House bill includes $20.5 billion in cuts to SNAP.
This week, both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees will mark up their versions of a Farm Bill that includes provisions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Despite the program’s effectiveness—helping over 47 million people afford nutritionally adequate meals and make ends meet—and a long history of bipartisan support, SNAP continues to face threats of deep cuts.
Apr 03, 2013 | Permalink »
States Strengthen Work Support Strategies in First Year of Initiative
In the midst of tighter budgets and cuts in benefits spending, some states are focusing on more effective administration of public benefits that support working families. They're doing so because they know that these benefits, which include programs focused on nutrition, health care and child care, help families become and stay employed and promote children's success in school and life. By streamlining eligibility processes and cutting red tape for these programs, states can reduce administrative costs and make it less daunting for working families to get the help they need.
For example, states involved in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) project are making administrative and programmatic decisions that help families more easily acquire benefits for which they're eligible. Reports on the initial planning year of the project (2010-2011), released by the Urban Institute today, indicate that participating states have made progress in simplifying application processes, streamlining eligibility policies, and coordinating the administration of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly Food Stamps), Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and child care assistance.
As a partner in the WSS project, CLASP provides technical assistance to states to strengthen the administration of their child care assistance programs in the context of the broader WSS focus on coordinating across multiple programs. In the first year of the project, WSS states took steps to reduce barriers to families' enrollment in child care assistance programs and to improve continuity of care for children. Read More >>
Mar 20, 2013 | Permalink »
SNAP Benefits in the Crosshairs of Debate on Spending
The budget resolutions introduced last week by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray are miles apart on funding for anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.
The Ryan budget proposes drastic changes. It would slash SNAP by $135 billion and Medicaid by $810 billion over 10 years through new block grants-cutting off tens of millions of people from critical health and nutrition assistance. With so many still struggling to make ends meet after a brutal recession, this is the wrong idea at the wrong time. As our colleague, Elizabeth Lower-Basch has explained, claims that block granting has been successful for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are deeply flawed and misguided, and SNAP and Medicaid are even less suited for such an approach. While the Ryan budget claims to protect the safety net, his approach would actually shred it, making it less responsive to the needs of low-income people.
The Murray budget takes a different approach to safety net programs and does not call for fundamental changes. Her budget acknowledges the effectiveness of SNAP in responding to the needs of millions of people during the recession. Part of what makes SNAP so effective is that it responds to changes in the economy. This also means that it decreases as the economy recovers and less people depend on it to make ends meet - a trend we expect to observe over the next ten years.
Furthermore, while the Ryan budget proposes to repeal the expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Murray budget maintains it.
These resolutions do not set spending levels and will not become law, but they do serve as a guiding framework for Congress as it works on budget bills. As Congress debates spending priorities in the coming months, it is critical to protect safety net programs and ensure that low-income individuals are not shouldering the cost of a balanced budget.
Threats to SNAP continue outside of the budget debate as well with Senator Pat Roberts' bill, S. 458, proposing drastic cuts totaling $36 billion. These cuts target nutrition programs despite the mounting research that shows the positive effects of SNAP on early childhood development, with continued positive effects on adult outcomes. In contrast, Congressman Jim McGovern continues the fight to ensure SNAP is protected through H.Res. 90. That bill, which has a growing list of co-sponsors, expresses the sense of the House that SNAP funding should be fully maintained in any upcoming legislation.
CLASP will continue to monitor the progress of current and prospective legislation affecting SNAP benefits and the impact they have on low-income families.