Child Nutrition Put on the Chopping Block by House Agriculture Committee
Ed Walz (Former Staff)Federal Budget Nutrition
Washington – The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture voted today to cut more than $16 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), an investment that allocates 47 percent of funding to U.S. children. This vote, on the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (commonly referred to as the Farm Bill) follows a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate that rejected these egregious cuts to the SNAP program and the 20 million kids it serves, calling into question the long-term viability of the House proposal.
Research confirms that SNAP fights child poverty. This is particularly important today when one-in-five of America’s kids live in poverty. A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that SNAP reduces the severity of child poverty by over 20 percent.
The bill would restrict access to free nutritious school lunches for almost 300,000 children through the National School Lunch Program. It also threatens the integrity of the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program by allowing canned, frozen, and dried snacks to be served as though they were fresh.
The Committee also took votes on a range of amendments. Among them, the Committee disappointingly rejected amendments to protect SNAP by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), which were supported by the First Focus Campaign for Children.
First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley released the following statement in response to the vote:
“Children today are struggling. But instead of solving the problems our kids face, this bill makes them worse. Research proves that SNAP works, and it is bad policy to reject investments that work. Congress needs to be doing what parents do every day- asking if their actions are right for kids. The House Agriculture Committee failed that simple test. Parents should demand better from Congress as the Farm Bill debate moves forward.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.