"The need for federal nutrition assistance programs has never been greater. With unemployment stuck above 8% nationally, millions of families scraping by with reduced wages or hours, and the charitable system stretched to the breaking point, it is critical that the 2012 Farm Bill protect and strengthen hunger-relief programs.
While we are deeply disappointed that an amendment to restore the $4.5 billion in SNAP cuts failed to pass, we are pleased that the Senate demonstrated overwhelming bipartisan opposition to deeper cuts and harmful structural changes to SNAP by voting down several amendments to weaken the program. This sends a strong and clear message to the House that the Senate will firmly oppose further SNAP cuts. Now is the time to protect and strengthen nutrition assistance, not cut the benefits upon which so many vulnerable families rely.
The bill reported out of the Senate today, also provides food banks and other emergency food providers with an additional $174 million over the next ten years in USDA commodities provided through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). This boost in nutritious USDA commodities will help our network and other charitable feeding organizations better meet the ongoing high demand for food assistance in their communities."
We recognize the challenge of writing a Farm Bill in a climate of deficit reduction and commend Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts for moving a bipartisan bill out of committee and off of the Senate floor. We will continue working to protect and strengthen hunger-relief programs and look for opportunities to improve the nutrition title as the Farm Bill process moves forward.
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