Hunger impacts many of our friends and neighbors here in Nebraska. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 13.3 percent of households in our state are food insecure. This population includes working families, children, senior citizens, disabled individuals, and even low-income veterans. Thankfully, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a vital support for 180,000 Nebraskans struggling to put food on the table.
Unfortunately, during the week of September 9, a bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would severely limit the ability of hungry households to keep food on the table. Under the proposal, SNAP would be cut by $40 billion over the next ten years, resulting in at least 4 to 6 million low-income Americans losing important food assistance.
Although the proposed bill has not been introduced yet, it is expected to include a devastating combination of cuts. This may include $20 billion in cuts included in the original House Farm Bill, which failed to garner enough support to pass earlier this summer. Additionally, the proposed bill would include an additional $20 billion in cuts by terminating basic food assistance to people who are unable to find training or a job, even if they are looking and even when no such opportunities exist. In other words, people will lose SNAP for not working even if there aren’t jobs available in their community.
The proposed cuts would also hit some of the nation’s poorest children in families where parents are out of work, as well as eliminating assistance for many low-income working families where high child care and housing costs make it difficult to afford food.
In addition to any of these proposed cuts, all SNAP recipients are already scheduled to face a reduction in benefits November 1, when the temporary boost in SNAP benefits as part of 2009’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) expires.
All in all, these cuts to SNAP are draconian and would prove devastating to Nebraska’s families struggling with hunger. We urge our state’s House representatives to protect SNAP and to resist harmful measures to cut crucial food assistance for many Nebraskans.