Tag ‘ Washington D.C. ’

U.S. Senate and House Consider Cuts to Food Stamps

Original post by: Jessica Bartholow, Legislative Advocate, Western Center on Law and Poverty. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will mark up the farm bill this week in their respective committees; the Senate on Tuesday, May 14, and the House on Wednesday, May 15.


In the Senate, the agriculture committee chairwoman’s farm bill draft included a $4.1 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), increasing the likelihood of hunger for millions of families.

The House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas released this first draft of the farm bill into committee on Friday. His draft would cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) by $20 billion over 10 years.  Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), a member of the agriculture committee, said the bill “would make hunger worse and not better.”

During the mark-up, after the chair offers the first draft, committee members have the opportunity to propose and vote on any amendments, or changes, to the bill. Once a final version is voted out of committee, leadership then adds it to the schedule for a floor vote. Both House and Senate leadership have indicated they would like a farm bill on the summer agenda.

Any cuts to SNAP would prove devastating for vulnerable Americans, including over 4 million low-income Californians who depend on the program to prevent hunger. SNAP participants are already facing a reduction in benefits—on Nov. 1, a temporary program boost that was included in the 2009 stimulus package will expire. Even more alarming: a recent Institute of Medicine study concluded that the way in which the benefit level is calculated for SNAP is inadequate for a healthy diet. Inadequate as existing levels are, just this expiration will reduce the average benefit to about $1.40 per person per meal, reports the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

Cutting the program by $20 billion over 10 years would reduce the benefit even further and increase food insecurity. This is why one in seven Americans polled oppose cuts to the program.

Western Center on Law and Poverty has been working with other allies in the state to oppose the cuts. “Cutting the nutrition safetynet for our poorest families is not necessary and it is cruel, increasing the likelihood that poor Americans, most of whom are children, will experience the indignity of hunger,” says Jessica Bartholow, a legislative advocate based in Western Center’s Sacramento Office.


For more information about the 2013 Farm Bill, go to:

Join National Call-In Day to Protect the Nutrition Safety Net!

As hundreds of advocates converge on Washington, DC for the 2011 National Anti-hunger Policy Conference, including representatives form Contra Costa and Solano counties, you can help us amplify our voice by joining our national call-in day today.  For those of you who will not be in Washington, you can still make your voice heard by calling your Members of Congress!

Latest News from Washington

Last week, Congress passed a short-term, two-week continuing resolution (CR) funding the Federal government through March 18. The short-term CR cuts $4 billion dollars as compared to FY2010 spending levels, and more cuts are on the horizon as Congress continues to work toward a long-term CR to fund programs through the remainder of the fiscal year.

The House-passed version of the long-term CR, H.R. 1, would cut nearly $61 billion in domestic non-security spending as compared to FY2010. The Senate will take two votes this week: one on H.R. 1, and one on a Senate bill introduced late Friday, March 4 that would cut about $6.5 billion from the budget as compared to FY2010. Both votes are expected to fail and are intended to demonstrate the need for the House to work with the Senate to find some middle ground before the short-term CR expires in two weeks.

These next two weeks are a critical opportunity to influence the process, and we need to keep the pressure on. Help us keep pushing Congress to protect the low-income safety net by calling your senators today. Participate in our National Call-In Day and urge your senators to safeguard the safety net!

Sen. Roberts

Senator Roberts at Russell senate building, anti-hunger lobby day.

Call Today!

Help us track our impact by using our toll-free number, 877-698-8228. After a brief message you’ll be asked to enter your zip code to connect directly to your senator’s office.  After delivering your message to the first office, stay on the line to be connected to your second senator’s office.  Once you are connected to your first senator’s office:

  • Tell them that you are a constituent and state the name of the town you are calling from.
  • Let them know you are calling about the budget, H.R. 1
  • Deliver this simple message:I urge Sen. ____ to oppose cuts to safety net programs, especially nutrition assistance programs like TEFAP, which supports emergency feeding programs in our community. Instead, please work with House leaders to pass a budget that addresses deficit while safeguarding programs that protect low-income Americans.

Questions? Please contact Lisa Sherrill at

Farm to Family at the White House

The California Association of Food Banks’ (of which we are a member) Farm to Family Program was recognized at the White House on June 30 when President Obama highlighted innovative non-profit programs that are making a difference in communities across the country. The program was recognized as one that is demonstrating results even as the country faces difficult times. Such groups, Obama said, hold the promise of finding solutions to persistent problems and to meeting unprecedented challenges. Farm to Family founder Gary Maxworthy attended the event because of his role in shaping the program since its inception.

Congratulations to Gary and the entire Farm to Family team!

Learn more:
KRON4-San Francisco
San Francisco Food Bank Blog

I’m just a bill

Anti-hunger and nutrition advocates from across the nation arrived on Capitol Hill early last week to urge Congress to build upon President Obama’s request for additional dollars for child nutrition programs. Barbara Stanley and Lisa Sherrill from the Food Bank (far right) joined advocates from the School Nutrition Association and met with Congressman Miller (back left) to urge him to improve and expand the vital nutrition safety net for low-income children and families. We also took the opportunity to thank the Congressman for the boost to Food Stamps and The Emergency Food Assistance Program within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

We are looking forward to working with Congressman Miller and his staff on the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization. To learn more about this important piece of legislation, visit /give%20help/advocate/advocateCNR.html.