If It’s Not Broken, Why Fix It? House Agriculture Committee-passed Farm Bill, H.R.2, Puts Unnecessary Burdens on Low-Income People
The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that authorizes most federal policies governing food and agriculture programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – the nation’s most critical anti-hunger program.
The current Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018. On Wednesday, April 18, the House Agriculture Committee passed H.R.2 – Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 out of committee along a party-line vote. The bill is expected to move to the House floor as early as mid-May. The bill includes deep cuts to SNAP that would lead to greater hunger and poverty among all types of beneficiary families, including the working poor, as well as reduced economic growth and productivity in communities across the country.
House Farm Bill Resources:
- FRAC’s Analysis of the Nutrition Title (Title IV) of the House Farm Bill (pdf)
- FRAC’s statement.
- House Agriculture Committee’s legislative text (pdf) and section-by-section summary (pdf).
- Congressional Budget Office analysis.
- FRAC’s Farm Bill Primer.
Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to move its version of the Farm Bill later in April or in May. Stay tuned for more updates and details on the Farm Bill, and be sure to sign up for FRAC’s Action Alerts to get the most up-to date information on ways you can help protect and strengthen SNAP in the Farm Bill.
Congress Must Protect and Strengthen SNAP and Other Key Anti-Hunger Programs
Check out FRAC and Feeding America’s latest leave-behind (pdf) from February 2018, calling on Congress to protect and strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other anti-hunger programs in the Farm Bill. Bring it with you when you visit your Members of Congress!
Other available resources:
More than 3,000 Organizations Demonstrate Their Support to Safeguard the Federal Nutrition Programs in a Letter to President Trump and Congress
The letter urges ensuring a strong and effective national nutrition safety net for vulnerable, low-income individuals and families. See current list of signers (pdf). Sign your organization on to the letter.
Advocacy efforts at the state and local level have been critically important in strengthening and safeguarding federal food and nutrition programs. These are examples of past efforts to help you in developing messages to champion these programs.
Current SNAP Legislation (115th Congress, 2017-2018)
- Closing the Meal Gap Act of 2017H.R. 1276 – Introduced March 1, 2017 by Representative Alma Adams (D-NC) and 30 original co-sponsors.
What it does: Increases SNAP benefit adequacy by: replacing the Thrifty Food Plan with the Low-Cost Food Plan as the basis for SNAP benefits; eliminating the cap on the SNAP Excess Shelter Deduction; raising the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $25 per month; and authorizing a SNAP Standard Excess Medical Deduction for persons who are elderly or have disabilities (with a minimum standard of $140). Also protects certain jobless adults who are willing to work from being time limited out of SNAP if the state does not offer them SNAP Employment and Training (E& T) positions. See the co-sponsors.
Previous SNAP Legislation (114th Congress, 2015-2016)
- Closing the Meal Gap Act of 2016H.R.5215 – Introduced May 12, 2016 by Representative Alma Adams (D-NC) and eight original co-sponsors.
What it does: Authorizes a SNAP Standard Excess Medical Deduction for persons who are elderly or have disabilities (with a minimum standard of $140); replaces the Thrifty Food Plan with the Low-Cost Food Plan as the basis for SNAP benefits; eliminates the cap on the SNAP Excess Shelter Deduction; raises the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $25 per month; and exempts jobless adults from SNAP time limits if the state does not provide them with a SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E & T) slot. See the co-sponsors.
- SNAP Work Opportunities and Veteran Protection Act of 2015S. 2420 – Introduced December 17, 2015 by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
What it does: Preserves access to SNAP benefits for certain jobless able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who are seeking work but who are not selected for a state job training or workfare program. Also exempts from time limits on their SNAP benefits military veterans who participate in a Veterans Affairs or State rehabilitation or employment program. See the co-sponsors.
- SNAP Work Opportunities Act of 2015H.R. 1025 – Introduced February 24, 2015 by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA).
What it does: Preserves access to SNAP benefits for certain jobless able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) by exempting them from time limits on their SNAP benefits if they are not selected for a state job training or workfare program. See the co-sponsors.
- Food Security Improvement Act of 2015H.R. 3657 – Introduced September 30, 2015 by Representative Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL).
What it does: Improves SNAP by requiring benefits to be calculated using the government’s Low-Cost Food Plan instead of the Thrifty Food Plan. See the co-sponsors.