The ABA urged House leaders and the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry this month to resists cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that would deny access to those who are otherwise qualified.
In letters sent to Capitol Hill on June 12, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman pointed out that, as of 2016, 41.2 million Americans, including 28.3 million adults and 12.9 million children, live in food-insecure households. Proposed cuts for the SNAP program, he said, will result in many citizens facing hunger and malnourishment.
Congress has been considering changes to the SNAP program as part of the 2018 farm bill. The House version of the legislation, H.R. 2, includes provisions requiring able-bodied adults ages 18 to 59 who are not disabled or caring for young children to work or participate in job training programs to qualify for SNAP benefits. The provisions also would limit the availability of SNAP benefits based on receipt of benefits from other federal programs for low-income individuals.
The House is preparing to take up H.R. 2 again after the legislation was pulled from the floor in May because of disagreement over immigration provisions.
The Senate draft farm legislation − overwhelmingly approved June 13 by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry − would leave the core of the SNAP program in place but create pilot projects to find ways to improve the income-verification process for program eligibility.
Susman said the association understands that difficult choices must be made to reach balanced federal spending policies, but he said SNAP cuts would result in “failure to support millions of American families and children in maintaining the basic necessity of adequate food and nutrition.” He added that the ABA also has concerns about the impact of the restrictions on rehabilitated felons who need SNAP benefits for successful reentry to the community.