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.

President Signs Farm Bill into Law, Preserving SNAP Intact, & Agriculture, Rural Development Programs

Posted on December 21, 2018 at 11:58 AM

President Trump signed the farm bill into law in a reversal to his efforts earlier this year to sharply cut SNAP funding. “The Delta Caucus commends Representatives French Hill, Rick Crawford, Bruce Westerman, and Steve Womack as well as Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas for their constructive willingness to compromise and pass SNAP nutrition, agriculture and rural development programs; this culminated in the President’s signing the bill todayl,” said Lee Powell, Caucus Director.

However, the Delta Caucus and other advocates for the SNAP nutrition program warned the administration not to try to pass measures that will result in reducing access to SNAP. “If they try to undo the bipartisan work of Congress by administrative actions, they will face as much or more opposition than they did when these efforts were defeated previously. They would be well-advised to drop this attempted end-run around the bipartisan agreement of both houses of Congress,” Powell said.

Mayor-Elect Kevin Smith of Helena, Arkansas said “The SNAP program in the Farm Bill is a fundamental issue that keeps hundreds of people in our community from severe levels of hunger. We here in the heart of the Delta rely on SNAP more than most areas and we are glad that our House delegation and Sen. Boozman worked out this compromise that preserves SNAP intact.”

Rep. Reginald Murdock (D-Marianna) said “I am grateful to see leaders from both parties in Congress working for a compromise that will support the all-important nutrition programs and other farm bill provisions that are crucial for east Arkansas and the entire Delta region.”

Johnnie Bolin, Chairman of the Cornerstone Coalition in southeast Arkansas (Desha, Chicot, Drew, Ashley and Bradley counties) said “This is great that leaders from both parties are working together on a bipartisan, practical compromise that will be beneficial for nutrition, agriculture and rural development in southeast Arkansas and the Greater Delta Region.”

The House version would have cut $20 billion from SNAP over 10 years and would have led to the removal of an estimated 2 million people from the program. SNAP is about 80% of the budget at $70 billion last year and is the basic anti-hunger safety net for over 40 million Americans. More than 600,000 people in Arkansas receive SNAP.

Two thirds of SNAP recipients are either children, seniors or the disabled, and over half of the adults in the program already have low-paying jobs. Only about 15% of the entire total of SNAP recipients are able-bodied unemployed adults, and the great majority of them are seeking jobs. The SNAP program already has work requirements.

The agriculture provisions are highly significant for farmers in the Delta who have been harmed by trade disputes, so this is a major accomplishment for the region’s economy.