Oppose House’s Draconian Cuts to Food Stamps

Media 11.7,13

Recipient: House and Senate Agriculture Committees

Dear Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairman Lucas, and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we urge you to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) in the ongoing conference committee negotiations over H.R. 2642. The House’s proposed cuts to the SNAP program would have a devastating impact on the communities we represent, including young children, students, older people, the jobless, the hungry, and the uninsured.

We were strongly opposed to H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 approved by the House of Representatives, and to its inclusion in H.R. 2642. The provisions of H.R. 3102 would cut nearly $40 billion from SNAP and deny assistance to nearly three million of the most vulnerable Americans among us. Its provisions must not become a part of the conference report.

The impact of H.R. 3102-like language would be especially harmful now. The 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act temporarily boosted SNAP benefits, both as a form of effective economic stimulus and in order to reduce the hardship that low-income families faced during the recession. This benefit increase, however, expired on October 31. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has noted, the coming benefit cut will significantly reduce SNAP benefits, which are already modest, for all households by 7 percent on average, or about $10 per person per month. Without the Recovery Act’s boost, SNAP benefits in fiscal year 2014 will average less than $1.40 per person per meal. This is a serious cut, especially considering that more than 80 percent of SNAP participants already live in poverty.

While we agree that it is vital to address our nation’s long-term debt, there is something fundamentally inhumane about a plan that would impose new “savings” entirely on the backs of the people who can least afford them. It is particularly shameful to cut a program like SNAP, which not only helps people meet one of our most basic human needs but, as a new report from the Half in Ten campaign shows, is efficient and effective in reducing poverty.

Congress must face the fact that sensible, targeted revenue increases are absolutely necessary and a responsible component of ensuring our long-term fiscal health. In the meantime, we urge you to reject the House’s proposed deep funding cuts to SNAP in the farm bill.

If you have any questions, please contact either of us, or Senior Counsel Rob Randhava, at (202) 466- 3311.


Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President