2018 Farm Bill Would Place Children and Families at Enormous Risk

This statement can be attributed to Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Washington, DC, April 12, 2018—Today, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee released the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018,” also known as the 2018 Farm Bill. Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) says he is committed to getting the policy right by improving and modernizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) to lift people out of poverty. On the contrary, this major piece of legislation will do just the opposite. The deep cuts and harsher work requirements proposed to SNAP will throw millions of people off the program, making it harder for them to succeed in school and work, and trapping them in a cycle of poverty.

SNAP helps feed over 42 million individuals, of whom almost 90 percent live in a household with a child, senior, or individual with disabilities. With an average benefit of only $1.40 per person per meal, SNAP is the difference for many between having food on the table and going hungry. SNAP lifts millions of people out poverty, boosts local economies, and effectively reaches some of the most vulnerable groups in our nation. The bill released by House Republicans today would cut off critical food assistance to millions, putting the short- and long-term health, education, and employment outcomes for children and families at enormous risk.

Past experience with the work requirements already in SNAP, and those in other programs, proves that these bureaucratic hassles cause people to lose benefits – including people already working but in part-time and seasonal jobs. The House legislation represents a shocking abandonment of one of the most fundamental tenants of our country – that no one should go hungry. The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 ignores the realities of today’s labor market and would undermine SNAP’s critical role as a highly efficient program that helps working individuals and families all across America.