Pocan Urges Speaker Boehner Not to Leave More Americans Hungry
MADISON, WI—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) is urging Speaker Jon Boehner not to leave more Americans hungry by cutting food assistance programs that benefit 800,000 Wisconsinites. In a letter with 204 other House Democrats, Pocan implored the Speaker to include funding for nutrition programs in any future Farm Bill that comes before the House of Representatives.
“As a Congress, we should be doing all that we can to decrease hunger in America and tackle a crisis that affects millions of children and seniors each and every day. Unfortunately, thus far the Republican leadership has only moved on bills that would take food away from people who need it the most,” said Pocan. “A Farm Bill without funding for vital nutrition assistance programs is not a Farm Bill that is good for America. I urge Speaker Boehner and my colleagues across the aisle to come together with Democrats and do all that we can to ensure Americans don’t go to bed hungry.”
In a dangerous break with tradition, this year’s Farm Bill pushed by the House Republican leadership did not include funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the food stamp program that benefits 47 million Americans. Recent reports indicate that Republicans are instead planning to introduce legislation that would slash SNAP funding by $40 billion, kicking millions of Americans off the program.
“The Republican leadership recently forced through a Farm Bill reauthorization, H.R. 2642, which did not include the nutrition title, a major part of the Farm Bill that would reauthorize SNAP,” the members wrote. “We voted against this bill in large part because of this intentional omission. We strongly believe in the critical importance of SNAP. Given the essential nature of this program to millions of American families, the final language of the Farm Bill or any other legislation related to SNAP must be crafted to ensure that we do not increase hunger in America.”
To raise awareness on the importance of these vital assistance programs, Pocan participated in the SNAP challenge this June, where he lived on a food stamp budget of $4.50 a day for one week.
The full letter is as follows:
August 13, 2013
The Honorable John Boehner
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our country’s most critical anti-hunger program, helping more than 47 million Americans meet their basic food needs at a time when more than 50 million Americans face the threat of food insecurity. Nearly half of SNAP enrollees are children, and the program helps feed roughly one in three children in America. Additionally, almost 75 percent of SNAP participants are in households with children, seniors, or a disabled individual.
More than half of the average household’s SNAP allocation is used within 7 days, and by the third week of the month 90 percent of SNAP benefits have been redeemed, leaving many families without the resources they need to buy food. This inadequacy causes an added burden on food banks, as nearly 60 percent of the households receiving SNAP and using food banks have to rely on food banks at least 6 months a year. In addition, under current law each household participating in SNAP will see a benefit reduction when the temporary increase from the Recovery Act expires. This means that, beginning November 1st, each SNAP enrollee will see a cut to their benefit that is, on average, less than $1.50 per meal.
Unfortunately, the Republican leadership recently forced through a Farm Bill reauthorization, H.R. 2642, which did not include the nutrition title, a major part of the Farm Bill that would reauthorize SNAP. We voted against this bill in large part because of this intentional omission. We strongly believe in the critical importance of SNAP. Given the essential nature of this program to millions of American families, the final language of the Farm Bill or any other legislation related to SNAP must be crafted to ensure that we do not increase hunger in America.