Why the Farm Bill Matters
Despite its name, the Farm Bill funds nutrition programs that keep millions of Americans from going hungry every day.
Tell Congress: Protect SNAP from cuts in the Farm Bill
Ensure that SNAP can continue to help 1 in 7 PA residents who struggle to put food on the table.
What is the Farm Bill?
Every five years, Congress must pass a Farm Bill to reauthorize not only agriculture-related programs, but also our nation’s most important anti-hunger programs.
Nearly three-quarters of Farm Bill funding goes toward food and nutrition programs that help millions of Americans put food on the table every day, particularly SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program).
In addition to SNAP, our nation's largest and most effective program in fighting hunger, the Farm Bill also funds programs that supply food banks across the country. These programs include The Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
What's happening with the Farm Bill now?
The House Agriculture and the Senate Agriculture committees are responsible for writing the Farm Bill. In 2012, bills passed by both committees would have made devastating cuts to SNAP, futher undermining the program's ability to help low-income families (see timeline below).
This year, Congress is once again considering legislation that would slash billions of dollars from SNAP. On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, the Senate Agriculture Committee will consider a bill that would cut $4.1 billion from SNAP over the next decade.
That $4.1 billion cut would limit the ability of states like Pennsylvania to operated "Heat and Eat" programs, which will lead to sizable reductions of monthly SNAP benefits for many households, particularly seniors.
Under that cut, half a million households across the United States will lose $90 a month in SNAP benefits, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Tens of thousands of families in Pennsylvania will be affected. The House Agriculture Committee is considering even deeper cuts of $20 billion.
These moves comes on top of severe cuts that took place in 2010, when Congress slashed more than $14 billion from SNAP. Unless those cuts are restored, a family of four could see their SNAP benefits reduced by $25 a month starting in fall 2013—the first time in the program's history that SNAP participants will see their benefits drop from one month to the next.
SNAP CUTS: 2010-Present*
What should Congress do to ensure Americans can get the food assistance they need?
It's vital that Congress strengthens and supports SNAP in the Farm Bill. Members must:
- Restore critical funding for SNAP so families can purchase an adequate, healthy diet.
- Oppose proposals that reduce funding, restrict eligibility or slash SNAP benefits.
For a list of recommendations made by Pennsylvania's leading anti-hunger organizations, read: "Fighting Hunger and Promoting Health in Pennsylvania."
What can concerned citizens do?
- Take action: Urge your members of Congress to protect SNAP from cuts in the Farm Bill.
- Sign up for action alerts: Stay up to date on ways you can get involved in the fight against hunger.
- "New Farm Bill leans on food stamps," Politico (May 6, 2013)
- "Some cuts likely for food stamps" Associated Press (May 8, 2013)
- Strengthening SNAP in the 2013 Farm Bill 2012 (Food Research and Action Center)
- The SNAP Effect: Lifting Households Out of Poverty (Food Research and Action Center)