For an estimated 4 million people, including about 210,000 schoolchildren, the farm bill the House is scheduled to start debating today could mean they will be going hungry a lot more often.
That has promoted organizations such as Half in 10 and the Food Research and Action Center to organize a National Call-In Day to lobby against almost $21 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program being pushed by House Republicans,. The debate on these cuts in the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) is another pivotal moment in which we can show just how powerful the public voice can be.
The SNAP, or “food stamp,” program is more than just another “government handout.” It is a comprehensive social safety net program that is vital tool in our arsenal to fight food insecurity in America. It is also one of the key instruments in alleviating poverty, a phenomenon that has increased since the Great Recession in 2008.
The cuts being sought by House conservatives would cause about 2 million individuals to lose their SNAP benefits entirely, would cut benefits for an estimated 1.7 million others by an average of $90 a month, and would cut 210,000 children from the free school meal program.
Republican obstructionism has exacerbated this issue, furthering a misguided economic agenda so focused on austerity measures that job creation has been minimal at best. It’s because of this unemployment, and in many cases underemployment, that SNAP participation increased by almost 170,000 people in March 2013 alone.
A bill proposing $4 billion in cuts to this program has already passed the Senate, much to the chagrin of the many Americans who depend on SNAP benefits. Don’t let steeper cuts to a vital program occur while no one is watching. This will be a day of action for you to call your representative and make your dissatisfaction known. Together, we can make our voices heard and stop this latest onslaught to defund invaluable social safety-net programs.