Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Conyers, Congressional Colleagues, and Advocates Call to Extend - Not Cut - SNAP Benefits

(WASHINGTON) Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) hosted a press conference with Congressional and outside advocates on the upcoming reduction in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits this Friday, November 1st. On that day, the temporary benefit boost provided for in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 stimulus is scheduled to expire and households across the country participating in SNAP will see their monthly benefit sharply reduced. This substantial reduction on November 1st will leave many Americans unsure of how they will put food on the table, and will aggravate the problem of hunger in our nation, making it that much harder for millions of Americans—fathers and mothers, children, veterans and active duty military, to provide for their loved ones. At the press conference, Rep. Conyers delivered the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“It is with great urgency that my colleague Representative Barbara Lee and I join with fellow Democrats and representatives from Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Share Our Strength, Feeding America, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan to discuss an important concern.  On Friday, November 1st, households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see their monthly benefit sharply reduced. The temporary benefit boost provided for in the 2009 Recovery Act is scheduled to expire, leaving many Americans unsure of how they will put food on the table.  This cut will severely aggravate the problem of both hunger and economic growth in our Nation.

“The SNAP benefit increase provided in the Recovery Act passed in the depths of the Great Recession to provide an increase in benefits through Fiscal Year 2016.  However, the funding increase was quickly reduced while a portion of it was used to cover the cost of education jobs and Medicaid and the reauthorization of Child Nutrition programs. As a result, beginning on November 1, 2013, SNAP funding will be reduced by approximately $5 billion for FY 2014.  Additionally, a family of four will lose up to $36 a month and an average benefit per person, per meal will drop to less than $1.40.  Instead of purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables parents will have to choose cheaper and less healthy food options that lack nutritional value. In my home state of Michigan, $183 Million will be cut from SNAP benefits causing 1,775,000 SNAP recipients to be impacted and parents wondering if they’ll have enough benefits left over near the end of the month for Thanksgiving. This is heartless! SNAP is designed to help eliminate hunger but this cut will only increase it.  

“I am urging my colleagues to avoid exacerbating hunger in our Nation and to join your colleagues in supporting H.R. 3353, the ‘Extend Not Cut SNAP Benefits Act.’ This bill provides for a one year extension of the 13% benefits increase contained in the Recovery Act through the 2014 Fiscal Year. Without an extension of the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost to SNAP, our economy will be worse off and our children will face a hunger that they do not deserve.”
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