The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Support Funding for SNAP in the Farm Bill, June 18, 2013

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 01:28 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus partners are deeply concerned about nutrition problems in our region, which unfortunately suffers from the highest food insecurity rates in the country. Our partners are strong supporters of school meals, SNAP (food stamp) benefits, the TEFAP program for aiding food banks, WIC–the Women’s Infants and Children nutrition program, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition programs and other policies providing a safety net against hunger. The programs help our farmers as well.

Most of our partners do not support the heavy cuts to SNAP of $20.5 billion that is currently being debated in the House of Representatives. There are currently efforts underway by Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee, and a large group of US Representatives to oppose these cuts and keep the SNAP program solid.

The House bill would result in at least 1.8 million people losing SNAP benefits entirely, and another 1.7 million people losing $90 per month. Many vulnerable people in the eight-state Delta region with a population of 10 million people would be harmed if these cuts go through.

The Senate version of the farm bill has comparatively speaking only a much smaller cut cut of approximately $4.5 billion to SNAP. While most of our partners would prefer no cuts at all at a time when unemployment and poverty levels are still very high in our region, naturally the Senate version is vastly better. Most of our partners commend the efforts of those like Congressman Cohen in the House who are trying to uphold the nutrition program.

Congressman Cohen did a great job speaking at our regional conference in West Memphis last year and we appreciate his leadership on this and a wide range of other key issues for our region.

Professional opinion polls indicate that fully seven in 10 of voters in America oppose cuts to the SNAP funding program. SNAP has a beneficial economic impact and also is helpful to our farmers who of course provide the food for this program.

We would emphasize that through the years there has been strong bipartisan support for SNAP by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

We’d like to cite one striking example of that bipartisan support: at a news conference with the Delta Caucus at the US Capitol, Ed Cooney, who is the executive director of the bipartisan Congressional Hunger Center, said that both the Obama administration AND President George W. Bush’s administration were strong supporters of the SNAP program, and in particular he singled out President Bush’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service, Eric Bost, s as an excellent leader on national nutrition issues.

What does that tell you about the widespread support for and tremendous need for this program, when both President Obama and President George W. Bush supported it?

The USDA nutrition programs not only lead the way in fighting hunger, but also have a positive economic impact: one dollar spent on SNAP increases Gross Domestic Product from $1.73 to $1.79, according to Moody’s Analytics. The Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) has reported that an increase of $1 billion in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) spending generates 17,900 jobs.

We respect those who take a different view, and certainly opinion is not unanimous in our coalition, which includes people of all philosophical persuasions. However, a clear majority of our partners do support SNAP and disagree with these huge cuts that will harm so many families in our region.

There has been great progress in reducing waste and abuse in SNAP. In the 1990s, waste and abuse in the program was approximately 4%, whereas today it has been reduced to 1%, and USDA continues to reduce those levels. Any waste and abuse should be stamped out, but as a matter of reality a 1% waste level is far lower than most programs, and this one is massive and vital.

Please note these key facts, conveyed from Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, which is a network of more than 200 food banks providing food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across the country. Of course, many people benefit from their great work in our region from St. Louis to Memphis down to New Orleans and eastward to the Alabama Black Belt:

The Farm Bill SNAP Cuts Would Make It Difficult for Low-Income Families To Access Adequate Amounts of Nutritious Food and Increase Demand on Food Banks:

–Even if Congress does not make changes to SNAP, benefits will decline for all participants on November 1 when the ARRA (stimulus) benefit boost expires, falling on average by about $25 for a family of three.

–The House Farm Bill would decrease benefits by about $90 per month for 850,000 households and cause two million individuals to lose SNAP entirely. On top of that, 210,000 children would lose free school meals, as their eligibility is tied to their family’s SNAP.

–The proposed $21 billion in cuts to SNAP proposed by the House would result in lost meals that food banks simply cannot make up.

–As our economy recovers and people go back to full-time work, SNAP spending will fall.

For those who agree with the position of solid support for SNAP, we would like to relay statements from the Food Research Action Center and Feeding America on the debate over nutrition funding in the farm bill. If you agree with these statements, please convey them to your Members of Congress. Thanks–Delta Caucus board of directors

FRAC (Food Research Action Center) Applauds New Proposed Legislation to Strengthen SNAP Benefits:

By Contrast, House Agriculture Committee Bill Would Leave Millions of Americans with Empty Cupboards*

“Statement attributable to FRAC President Jim Weill”

June 17, 2013 - Washington, D.C. - As the Farm Bill moves to the floor of the House of Representatives this week, Congress must acknowledge that any cut to SNAP means less food in the cupboards and refrigerators of the hungriest people in America - including children, seniors, working families, unemployed workers, and people with disabilities.

At a time when more than one in six Americans struggle to put food on the table, it is unconscionable for Congress to consider any cuts to SNAP, let alone the proposed House bill’s more than $20 billion over the next ten years. Specifically, the House bill would result in at least 1.8 million people losing SNAP benefits entirely, and another 1.7 million people losing $90 per month.

SNAP must be strengthened. According to the Institute of Medicine, current SNAP benefit levels are inadequate in most circumstances, and leave many households hungry by the end of the month. FRAC applauds Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), and 25 additional House Members (see list below) for introducing a bill that would require SNAP benefits to be calculated using USDA’s low-cost food plan, which would improve benefit allotments, would positively impact the health and nutrition of millions of Americans, and would reduce long-term health costs.

The House of Representatives must reject cuts to SNAP and pass a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens the program. Ensuring that our most vulnerable populations have enough food to eat is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to the nation’s social, economic, and fiscal success. Seven out of 10 voters say cutting SNAP funding is the wrong way to reduce government spending - it’s past time for Congress to listen.

“Joining Congressman Deutch as cosponsors of the legislation are Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), John Lewis (D-GA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Gene Green (D-TX), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Maxine Waters (D-CA),Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Dina Titus (D-NV), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Greg Meeks (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Pete Gallego (D-TX).”


We need to do something about what’s happening in Congress.

The House is poised to vote on the Farm Bill. The bill would cut SNAP, or food stamps, by $20.5 billion. That’s 8 billion meals that will be lost over the next 10 years. To put it in perspective, 8 billion meals is the equivalent of the entire Feeding America network of food banks shutting its doors for two and a half years. We can’t let the House pass this bill. Not on our watch.

We are going to flood the Congressional switchboard with calls today, and your voice can make a real difference. Please call your Representative today by dialing 866-527-1087 and listen to the pre-recorded message. We will then connect you directly to your Representative’s office and ask you to deliver this simple message:

As your constituent, I am asking you to vote against the House farm bill due to the cuts to SNAP. With so many families still struggling to put food on the table, it is important to protect and strengthen programs like SNAP and TEFAP. I understand the need to reduce the deficit, but increasing hunger is not the way to do it.