SNAP Under Attack On Multiple Fronts

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Working for a Better Texas

By Jeanie Donovan

Federal lawmakers have been debating the reauthorization of the Farm Bill for more than two years now. The SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps, has been central in that debate.  During this drawn out reauthorization process, House members’ proposals to cut SNAP have grown in size and harmfulness. On top of that threat, an across-the-board cut to benefits for all SNAP households is set to go into effect November 1, putting families and children at additional risk of hunger.  Now, with the shutdown of the federal government, SNAP recipients could have their benefits interrupted or delayed as soon as next month.

An Unacceptable Proposal

Three weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives, including 24 out of 36 Texas Representatives, voted in favor of cutting SNAP benefits by $4 billion per year (see how each Texas representative voted at the end of this blog post*). The savings would primarily come from doing away with a provision that allows households earning slightly above the poverty line to receive SNAP. A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indicates the households that would lose benefits as a result of the House bill would be mainly low-income seniors and low-income working households. The cuts included in the House Farm Bill proposals are simply unacceptable to Senate members and have therefore stalled the reauthorization of Farm Bill.

A Looming Cut

In addition to votes in Congress to cut the program, SNAP recipients and anti-hunger advocates have additional cause for concern.  On November 1, all households will see their benefits reduced by an average of $36 per month. This cut will squeeze households that are already struggling to make ends meet.

Rates of food insecurity and poverty in Texas are already unacceptably high. Reducing the safety net that protects families from falling into extreme poverty and hunger is simply not the logical choice for our state.   Click here to find out what you can do to stop Congress from pushing us over The Hunger Cliff.

The Government Shutdown

Without the passage of a federal budget bill, all federal food and nutrition programs are at risk of running out of funding and interruptions to service. This includes SNAP, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), emergency food distribution programs, and all school meal programs.

SNAP is by far the largest of the food assistance programs, with 1 in 6 Texas families receiving benefits. After October 30, SNAP administrators will no longer have statutory authority to continue distributing those benefits. If the federal government does not end the impasse, millions of vulnerable Americans will be at severe risk of hunger and malnutrition.

*How Did Each Texas U.S. Representative Vote on the Proposal to Cut SNAP by $4 Billion Per Year?

Congressional District (113th Congress)

Percent Households that Receive SNAP

 (ACS 2012)

Congressional

Representative

Voted to Cut SNAP (9/19/13)

Unemployment Rate*

(ACS 2012)

Texas

14.3

 

8.0%

1

14.8

Gohmert, Louie

Y

8.2%

2

7.1

Poe, Ted

Y

5.3%

3

3.7

Johnson, Sam

Y

4.6%

4

15.5

Hall, Ralph M.

Y

8.9%

5

16.2

Hensarling, Jeb

Y

7.3%

6

11.5

Barton, Joe

Y

8.3%

7

7.1

Culberson, John

Y

6.6%

8

9.3

Brady, Kevin

Y

7.3%

9

19.6

Green, Al

N

12.0%

10

8.9

McCaul, Michael T.

Y

7.0%

11

11.9

Conaway, K. Michael

Y

4.6%

12

10.5

Granger, Kay

Y

6.3%

13

12.5

Thornberry, Mac

Y

5.1%

14

14.1

Weber, Randy

Y

8.8%

15

27.4

Hinojosa, Rubén

N

10.2%

16

22.9

O’Rourke, Beto

N

10.5%

17

12.4

Flores, Bill

Y

7.7%

18

21.6

Jackson Lee, Sheila

N

11.6%

19

15.2

Neugebauer, Randy

Y

7.0%

20

17.8

Castro, Joaquin

N

9.1%

21

6.4

Smith, Lamar

Y

6.2%

22

7.3

Olson, Pete

Y

5.1%

23

20.1

Gallego, Pete

N

7.8%

24

7.6

Marchant, Kenny

Y

6.5%

25

10.1

Williams, Roger

Y

7.6%

26

6.7

Burgess, Michael

Y

6.7%

27

14.7

Farenthold, Blake

Y

6.2%

28

27.4

Cuellar, Henry

N

7.8%

29

23.1

Green, Gene

N

10.9%

30

20.1

Johnson, Eddie Bernice

N

10.8%

31

8.6

Carter, John

Y

7.5%

32

9.1

Sessions, Pete

Y

6.9%

33

26.2

Veasey, Marc

N

11.4%

34

27.3

Vela, Filemon

N

11.7%

35

22.8

Doggett, Lloyd

N

9.7%

36

13.2

Stockman, Steve

Y

10.9%

*Margin of Error for Congressional District Unemployment Rates Ranges from +/- .6%-1.1%

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

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