FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nicole Aber, (646) 627-7741, Naber@hungerfreeamerica.org
Anti-Hunger Advocates Cautiously Praise Farm Bill Deal But Call on Next Congress to Act to End U.S. Hunger
In response to news that Congressional negotiators had reached a deal on a Farm Bill that included no major cuts (and no increases) in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide advocacy and direct service organization, issued the following statement:
“The House GOP version of the Farm Bill not only tried to impose new work reporting requirements on hungry Americas, but it also included a massive ‘bait and switch’ that would have taken billions of dollars’ worth of food from millions of children, seniors, working people, people with disabilities, and veterans under the false guise of promoting work among able bodied adults, most of whom are already working. We are certainly heartened that these cruel, counter-productive cuts were rejected.
But 40 million Americans – roughly the combined populations of Texas and all of New England – still struggle against hunger. Such massive levels of hunger harm the nation economically and spiritually. The average SNAP benefit now equals only $1.36 per meal, far too low to pay for full, nutritious meals. Because ending hunger would lift us all, we believe any truly effective Farm Bill would slash hunger by significantly boosting SNAP benefits. Judged on that basis, the Farm Bill compromise – which leaves in place a horrid hunger status quo nationwide – falls far short.
Given that supporters of SNAP will take control of the House next January, we hope the new Congress will immediately start to work on a truly progressive Farm Bill that would slash hunger, aid small farmers, create jobs, protect the environment, boost nutrition, improve food safety, and benefit consumers. We also hope the next Congress passes a child nutrition reauthorization bill to make universal, free, school breakfasts, school lunches, after-school suppers, and summer meals a reality for all young people in America. Given that the U.S. is the only industrialized Western nation with such high levels of hunger, the next Congress must do far more than simply avoid food aid cuts – it must act to finally end hunger in America.”