National WIC Association

Press Release: National WIC Association Dismayed by Partisan House Farm Bill that Cuts SNAP Food Assistance

April 12, 2018

Rev. Greenaway: “We have faith that Senator Roberts will do a better job.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Natalie Mulloy
Email: nmulloy@nwica.org.

WASHINGTON – On April 12, 2018, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, unveiled a farm bill that includes reforms of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill’s provisions narrow SNAP eligibility, bolster existing work requirements, redirect SNAP funds from food assistance to job training programs, and impose new restrictions on reissuance of electronic-benefit transfer (EBT) cards. Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) has indicated that the SNAP provisions will prevent Democratic support and publicly cast doubt on whether House Republicans can muster enough votes to pass a partisan farm bill.

Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:

“The National WIC Association is dismayed that Chairman Conaway and House Republicans are moving forward with a partisan farm bill that slanders and patronizes struggling Americans and now delays much-needed relief for America’s farmers and agriculture sector.

“The farm bill has historically been a bipartisan effort, addressing the needs of urban and rural America in a united fashion. Over the past several months, House Republicans have damaged bipartisan negotiations by repeatedly shaming America’s poor. Although WIC is not authorized under the farm bill, WIC participants often rely on SNAP to have sufficient resources to have a full complement of groceries and to make ends meet. It is imperative that legislators evaluate the farm bill’s nutrition title by upholding SNAP’s core purpose: to provide assistance to those in this country who cannot afford to feed their families.

“SNAP already includes work requirements that many states find onerous, especially in times of economic downturn or stagnation. Work requirements are inflexible mandates that create barriers to participation and deny people access to the very services that can give them a shot at the American dream. We will never adequately address hunger in this country if Congress remains unwilling to help those who cannot afford to purchase food in a time of need.

“Despite protestations to the contrary, this farm bill would cut funding for families to purchase food through SNAP. Instead of feeding the hungry, that funding would promote employment and training programs. Job training programs cannot feed a struggling family, nor can they provide economic security when this country does not create and sustain enough jobs with healthy wages for the working class. This farm bill’s redistribution of federal resources will not improve the job prospects and wages of low-income Americans and instead leave more Americans questioning how to put food on the table.

“This bill also throws up new barriers to sign up for SNAP, especially for children, older Americans, and individuals with disabilities. The bill’s efforts to narrow categorical eligibility – a policy that simplifies the SNAP application process for certain groups – is a callous attempt to reduce SNAP participation by targeting some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. After repeated attempts to zero-out Meals on Wheels, it should not be surprising that House Republicans again seek to withhold food and resources from those most in need.

“This bill includes a number of other problematic provisions – including cuts to nutrition education programs and excessive restrictions on the reissuance of lost or misplaced SNAP cards. But what this farm bill truly represents is a failure to care about feeding the hungry in this country. SNAP is a food assistance program that seeks to alleviate hunger, not a job-training program. At a time when the economy is failing to provide security for low-income Americans, Congress should be thinking about ways to help – not hurt – struggling families. This farm bill’s misguided and partisan priorities are not serious solutions to combatting hunger in America. We have faith that Senator Roberts will do a better job in delivering a bipartisan farm bill in the Senate Agriculture Committee.”

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