You are here
Traditionally a bipartisan piece of legislation, the 2018 Farm Bill, particularly proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has become the latest fault line between Democrats and Republicans in Congress. The scope of the Farm Bill is broad. It includes funding for rural development, provides subsidies to farmers allowing smaller, family owned farms to continue to stay in business, as well as efforts to addressing food insecurity. SNAP, popularly known as food stamps, is a vital program providing food assistance for 40 million low-income Americans.
Following President Trump’s budget priorities, Republicans in Congress are proposing new work requirements to receive SNAP, and harsher penalties for those who fail to follow all the necessary steps. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimated that these new requirements would result in two million people losing access to food assistance.
In the past people between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have children have been required to work, take job training, or volunteer for 20 hours a week in order to receive assistance. The current bill changed this to people between the ages of 18-59 who do not have children under the age of 6. The data shows that most recipients of SNAP who are able to work do. This also fails to take into consideration seasonal jobs, such as farming, and unreliable or nonexistent public transportation.
The Farm Bill is renewed every 5 years in order to make sure it stays up to date and can change according to developing technology and changing economic conditions. The Farm Bill affects everyone in the United States, and usually is one of the few bills to stay bipartisan. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September of this year. On April 18th the House Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), passed a partisan bill to be debated on the House floor as early as the week of May 7th, although it will probably not be brought up until the following week.
Take action to oppose the Farm Bill now! National faith partners are opposing the Farm Bill and asking you to join in the effort. Individuals and local congregations are being asked to participate in the Food Resource and Action Center and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities call-in day to the US House May 1. Find out who represents you here and call your member of Congress at 202-225-1904.
To learn more about the issue, see the resources listed below or listen the Texas Impact’s Weekly Witness podcast featuring Kathy Green, the Central Texas Food Bank’s Senior Director of Advocacy and Public Policy talking about the Farm Bill.
See below for additional resources, action alerts and statements from faith groups.
Central Texas Food Bank Action Alert, April 25, 2018
Work Requirements Don't Work - PCUSA
http://blogs.elca.org/advocacy/ - The ELCA will be adding blogs on Nutrition in May and International Food Aid in June
Tell Congress to Protect SNAP-UMC Online Form
Religious Leaders Comment: