Contacts and Context:
WASHINGTON, DC – This week the House of Representatives will vote on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the Farm Bill. The following is a statement from Share Our Strength’s Senior Vice President Lisa Davis about the harmful impact the bill would have on struggling families in America. Share Our Strength officially opposes the bill.
“This week, the House of Representatives will vote on the Farm Bill. On balance, this bill will ultimately increase poverty and hunger in the United States and Share Our Strength cannot support it.
Thirteen million children today are growing up in families that worry about hunger. Even more live in families on the brink, just one lost job, one medical emergency, one broken water heater away from hunger. Consider:
A study by the Federal Reserve shows that nearly half of all Americans couldn’t come up with $400 for an emergency expense.
Another study from the National Center for Children in Poverty shows that nearly half of all children in the United States live “dangerously close” to the poverty line. 6 in 10 Americans will spend at least one year of their lives in poverty.
And in another survey recently conducted on behalf of No Kid Hungry, two-thirds of low-income parents said they would not be able to afford enough food for their families if they were hit with a single, unplanned expense of $1,500.
These are families trying to do their best to survive. These are the families we all know. It’s the single working mom in California, worried about whether to pay the electricity bill or pay for groceries this month. It’s the grandmother trying to raise her grandkids in Appalachia. And it’s the military veteran trying to find enough work hours to support his son in Central Pennsylvania.
And while this legislation includes some needed improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), such as increasing asset limits and indexing them to inflation, these changes are significantly outweighed by harmful ones, such as eliminating Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) and increasing administrative burdens on states and imposing penalties on adults who are unable to comply with the expanded work requirements in a given month.
We believe a good job is the best pathway out of poverty, but there is little reason to think the policies in this Farm Bill will increase employment. It imposes harsh penalties on beneficiaries who drop below the required number of hours in a month, locking them out of SNAP for a full year the first time and 3 years if it happens again. Imagine a single mom barely getting 20 hours of work a week whose child gets strep throat or the flu. Or the rural dad whose car breaks down. Or the 55-year-old house cleaner whose back goes out.
This is all counterintuitive. Adding hurdles and punitive restrictions won’t help people find jobs or get back on their feet. But it will increase hunger and hardship for many families.
In addition, the Congressional Budget Office also reports that this legislation will lead to more than 265,000 kids losing free school meals during the school year, a double whammy for poor, working families. Research demonstrates the deep connections between hunger and health, particularly for children. When kids don’t get the fuel they need to nourish their developing minds and bodies, they are more likely to get sick and do poorly in school, and they are much less likely to access a future free from poverty.
We urge members of the House of Representatives to take a stand for children and families and oppose this legislation.”
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 6 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org