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Urge Your Member of Congress to Protect SNAP!

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) provides basic food assistance for low-income families to combat hunger, food insecurity, and poverty. In 2016, SNAP lifted more than 3.5 million Americans above the poverty line, making it one of the government’s most effective anti-poverty tools.

SNAP exists within the farm bill, legislation that expires every five years. The current bill is set to expire on September 30, 2018, and work has been underway for many months to draft the next farm bill.

On June 21, 2018, the House passed a damaging farm bill which undermines SNAP by imposing new barriers that make it harder for people to access the support they need to eat an adequate, nutritious diet. In contrast, the draft Senate bill protects SNAP and strengthens the vulnerable Americans who rely on the program to help feed their families. We must urge our senators to support the bipartisan Senate bill and ensure SNAP is protected through the rest of the farm bill process.

Urge your Senators to protect SNAP and support the millions of Americans who utilize this critical anti-poverty program.

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  • Background

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is a vital program that helps ease hunger and food insecurity for millions of people. In January 2016, 45.4 million people participated in SNAP, nearly half of whom were children. Almost 70 percent of SNAP participants are in families with at least one child, and more than a quarter are families with someone who is elderly or has a disability. Cuts and changes to SNAP would directly impact some of our country’s most vulnerable people, forcing impossible choices and unjust living conditions.

    On June 21, 2018, The House of Representatives passed a farm bill that undermines SNAP, attacking millions of Americans’ food security and leaving more Americans hungry. This version imposes new, harsher work requirements, which require participation in work-related activities as a precondition for receiving SNAP. SNAP already includes work requirements which have the effect of pushing people off the program prematurely. The changes in the House bill would only make this existing challenge worse. Other detrimental changes include expanding these work requirements to cover more people, including people up to 59 years of age and those with children over six years old, and narrowing states’ flexibility to adjust eligibility requirements according to circumstances within the state. These changes would restrict or eliminate access to SNAP for millions of people. We are disappointed in the House passage of such a damaging bill.

    The Senate recently released its draft of the farm bill, known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This bipartisan proposal effectively reforms SNAP without sacrificing recipients’ food security. We urge the Senate to advance this bipartisan proposal and reject any amendments that would undermine SNAP.

    Jewish Values

    Jewish tradition teaches us that we must fight hunger not individually, but rather by working together as a community. During Talmudic times, Jewish communities ran tax-financed programs that helped feed the hungry. Our sages explain that feeding the hungry is one of our most important responsibilities on earth: “When you are asked in the world to come, ‘What was your work?’ and you answer: ‘I fed the hungry,’ you will be told: ‘This is the gate of the Lord, enter into it, you who have fed the hungry’” (Midrash on Psalms 118:17).

    More Information

    For more on this issue, visit the RAC’s hunger page, or check out the RACBlog. You can also contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Susannah Cohen at (202) 387-2800.