Statement Attributable to Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America:
"Feeding America is deeply concerned that that the House Agriculture Committee's drastic cuts of over $16 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) in the new Farm Bill will make it harder for millions of struggling Americans to put food on the table.
"Cutting food assistance at a time when so many Americans need help is a callous departure from Washington's historic bi-partisan commitment to protecting and strengthening programs that feed hungry families.
"Consider these disturbing facts: The proposed cuts would cause two to three million individuals to lose their food assistance entirely; an additional 500,000 households would have their SNAP benefits cut by $90 per month; and nearly 300,000 children would lose free school meals.
"Cuts to SNAP will drive more struggling families to local food charities at a time when food banks are already stretched thin. Make no mistake, our food banks will not be able to fill the gap caused by these cuts.
"We strongly urge Congress to reject these cuts to SNAP. They should instead seek to protect and strengthen current food assistance programs as the Farm Bill process moves forward.
It is important that Congress keep in mind a few simple facts about Americans who receive SNAP benefits:
"With millions of American out of work or underemployed, now is the time to protect and strengthen SNAP, not cut it.
"Feeding America is appreciative, however, of the additional $250 million to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) over the next ten years, included in the legislation. Our food banks have experienced a steep drop off in the flow of USDA commodities in recent years and this boost will help them better meet demand. Unfortunately, even with increased TEFAP, our food banks simply will not have the capacity to make up for lost SNAP benefits included elsewhere in the bill.
"We are also grateful to Representative Goodlatte for offering an amendment to improve the timing of USDA's evaluation of bonus commodity purchases as well as the timing of mandatory TEFAP purchases to ensure a more stable flow of commodities to food banks.
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