This week, the House of Representatives will likely vote on the Farm Bill. For three years, we've fought tooth and nail to ensure that the Farm Bill protects hunger-relief programs and advances our mission of a hunger-free America. Now, it appears Congress is ready to vote on a final bill.
Over the past three years, we've asked you to write letters, send email, make phone calls, submit letters- to-the-editors, and meet with your elected officials to help educate them about the important role these programs play in your community.Your support helped us defeat proposal after proposal to deepen the cuts to SNAP and make harmful structural changes. The final bill is a far cry from the original House version that included $40 billion in cuts to SNAP as well as other harmful policy changes that would have hit struggling families hard. Your voice made a difference.
The final agreement includes more than $8 billion in cuts to SNAP and an increase of $205 million for emergency food for food banks, called TEFAP. The cut to SNAP would cause an estimated 850,000 low-income households across 15 states and the District of Columbia to lose an average $90 in monthly benefits. This is on top of the $11 billion cut to benefits impacting every SNAP household that took place on November 1st.
While we cannot support the Farm Bill agreement because of the cuts to SNAP, we also recognize that failure to pass this bill does not ensure a better outcome for SNAP and the low-income families it serves. In fact, if this bill fails, hunger-relief programs could be put in further jeopardy and face new threats.
Yet our fight is far from over. If the bill does pass the House and Senate, we'll need your help more than ever. Our food banks will have to step up to meet the increased need that will result from the cuts to SNAP, and your voice will be critical to our efforts to educate elected officials about the important impact hunger-relief programs have on your community.
In the meantime, our mission of a hunger-free America continues. I hope you continue to stay with us every step of the way.
Brett Weisel is the Director of Advocacy for Feeding America.