The House of Representatives will soon vote again on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the Farm Bill.
The following is a statement from Monica Gonzales, Share Our Strength's associate director of government relations, about the harmful impact the bill would have on struggling families in America. Share Our Strength officially opposes the bill.
The House of Representatives will soon vote again on the Farm Bill, which originally failed to pass last month. Share Our Strength cannot support this bill without significant changes because it would:
Hurt poor working families. The legislation would eliminate the provision known as Broad Based Community Eligibility (BBCE), a policy that provides states with flexibility to help working families with low-wage jobs phase out of SNAP rather than facing a hard cut off. Many families could lose SNAP benefits and face additional hurdles to getting back on their feet.
Lead to a quarter of a million kids losing free school meals. Children in families receiving SNAP are automatically certified to receive free school meals. Working families who lose SNAP eligibility because of the elimination of BBCE face a double whammy as their children could lose access to food both at home and at school, directly increasing childhood hunger. The Congressional Budget Office reports that this legislation would result in 265,000 kids losing free school meals.
Punish people struggling to find work. We can all agree that a good job is the best pathway out of hunger and poverty. However, the expanded work requirements in this legislation are punitive, would create an underfunded mandate and significant administrative burden on states. This is more likely to lead to benefit loss rather than increased employment and a meaningful pathway out of poverty.
Adults will be required to work or participate in a training program for 20 hours a week to receive benefits. Falling below this threshold means being kicked out of SNAP for one to three years.
These are families trying to do their best to survive. They are the families we all know. It's the single working mom, worried about whether to pay the electricity bill or buy groceries this month. It's the grandmother trying to raise her grandkids, and the military veteran trying to find enough work hours to support his kids.
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 and their kids.
We urge members of the House of Representatives to take a stand for children and families by opposing this legislation and supporting the Senate Farm Bill as reported out of Committee.
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