Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) today voted against a bill that would remove 4 million Americans from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. She opposed the $39 billion cut, citing the devastating impact it would have on families still struggling to earn a living wage following the recent recession. Bonamici also opposed a $20 billion cut to the program that was considered in June as part of the 2013 Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (H.R. 1947). That bill was defeated by a significant bipartisan majority.
"Millions of Americans who lost their jobs and have been unable to find work have relied on SNAP to put food on the table," said Bonamici. "These cuts would cause 120,000 Oregonians to lose nutrition assistance. We shouldn't be trying to balance the budget on the backs of hungry families. If we're really concerned about the cost of SNAP, we should focus on addressing the root causes of hunger. Let's cut poverty, not nutrition assistance."
In the past, SNAP has been considered as part of broader farm policy legislation. SNAP was removed from the 2013 farm bill when controversy over cuts to the program could not be resolved. Bonamici objected to its removal of and voted against the revised bill (H.R. 2642).
SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. Eligibility for the program is limited to households with a gross income of no more than 130 percent of the federal poverty line. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 76 percent of households receiving SNAP include a child, elderly person, or disabled person. The average SNAP household has a gross monthly income of $744. The House passed the bill Thursday that would make around $4 billion in cuts annually to the almost $80 billion-a-year food stamp program and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place for recipients. A Senate-passed farm bill would make around a tenth of the amount those cuts, or $400 million a year.
The White House threatened a veto, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the bill "hateful, punitive legislation."