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Friday, March 20, 2015

Urgent Action Needed Now: Oppose Budget Proposals to Cut SNAP

The House and Senate are expected to take up their respective FY2016 Budget Resolutions next week as the Budget Committees wrap up their bills today.

Here are five things you can do to weigh in with your Members:

1) Share new SNAP data tool with your Members of Congress.
Data on SNAP participation rates by congressional district is now available via an interactive map from USDA. We strongly encourage you to reach out to your Senators and House Members immediately and use this data as part of your arsenal to protect SNAP from budget cuts. The time for us to act is now. As our anti-hunger hero, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), says, “This is real. This is not a false alarm.”

How to Use this Data When Talking to Your Members of Congress:

  • Highlight Number of SNAP Households: Urge your members to carefully consider how cuts to SNAP would be a disaster for thousands (use the number of households on the data sheet to make your point) of the most vulnerable citizens in his/her own backyard, including children, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are just trying to make ends meet.
  • Point out the poverty level. Explain how cuts to SNAP would only make poverty and hunger in the district much worse, and would have a negative ripple effect for business and the local economy.
  • Highlight the Work Status numbers to illustrate that the majority of SNAP households had at least one employed person over the past year, which shows that these households are doing their best to make ends meet. SNAP plays a critical role in filling in the gaps — while also ensuring individuals get the nutrition they need - so people may be lifted out of poverty, rather than falling deeper into it.
2) Tuesday, March 24: Participate in Keep SNAP Strong Call-In Day.
Call your Representatives (pdf) and Senators (pdf) and tell them to:

  1. protect SNAP;
  2. speak out on the floor in support of SNAP; and
  3. use the data above to vote on behalf of constituents who rely on SNAP and other programs that help lift people out of poverty.
3) Sign and share this petition telling Congress to keep SNAP strong.
We are aiming for 15,000 signatures for next week’s floor debates. We are one-third of the way there!
Sample tweet: Join me and @fractweets in telling Congress to keep SNAP strong. Tell a friend http://bit.ly/1FUaioE

4) Share stories, stories, and more stories about how diverse populations have benefitted from SNAP.
And, be sure to participate in Rep. McGovern’s #FillUpYourPlate campaign and share what SNAP means to you.

5) Check out FRAC’s SNAP resources.


What Happens Next:  
This week, the House and Senate Budget Committees have been debating their budget resolutions.

House:
The House budget resolution was approved Thursday, March 19, along a party line vote of 22-13.

The bill will be on the floor for a vote by the full House during the week of March 23. During this time, Members will vote on amendments to the Bill.

The House budget converts SNAP to a block grant, and assumes cuts of $125 billion over 10 years.

Senate:
The Senate Budget Committee will debate its budget resolution on Thursday, March 19, and consider amendments in Committee.

Consideration by the full Senate will occur next week at the same time as the House floor action. Votes are expected in both chambers mid-week.

While the Senate budget proposal does not include “reconciliation instructions” for the Agriculture Committee, the proposal recommends massive potential cuts that are broad and ambiguous, but could result in more than $1 trillion in cuts to social safety net and welfare programs, including SNAP, school lunch and other child nutrition programs, Supplemental Security Income for the elderly and disabled poor, the Earned Income Tax Credit, among other programs.



Source:  Food Research and Action Center