Millions of people are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to help feed their families. Low-income and food insecure Americans on SNAP already struggle and must try to make ends meet by living on as little as $4.50 a day for food. The Farm Bill that was on the table this week threatened those millions of low-income working families, children, and seniors who use SNAP benefits with even more cuts to the program. The collapse of the Farm Bill on Thursday saved the SNAP program from a proposed $20 billion worth of cuts over the course of 10 years.
Currently, the SNAP program denies eligibility to 50 million food insecure households and the proposed changes in the Farm Bill would have stripped an additional 2 million families from accessing the program. Over 200,000 low-income children would have lost their free school meal access.
Even though the economy is improving, the number of Americans receiving SNAP benefits remains high. The reality is that many hard-working people cannot make ends meet without government assistance.
The SNAP program is important to union workers because UFCW members work in the grocery stores and also make the food that is on the grocery shelves. The livelihood of these workers depends on a strong retail food market and people being able to buy groceries. When people can’t afford to buy food, communities and workers in the food industries suffer.
The farm bill failing to pass in the House this week is a small win for food insecure families. The ultimate victory will be when people don’t have to rely on government assistance and can afford to buy food to feed themselves and their families.