Child advocates decry cuts to food aid for poor families
A $4.49 billion cut to food stamps passes Senate agriculture committee
WASHINGTON – Voices for America’s Children, the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organizations, today spoke out against cuts to vital food assistance for low-income families in the Senate agriculture committee’s budget.
“While avoiding the complete callousness of the recent House budget, the Senate agriculture committee today still lets struggling families down with their massive planned cuts to food stamps,” said Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America’s Children. “Around half of all food stamp recipients are children, and this version of the farm bill deals them a devastating blow in quality of life, even as low-income families still struggle in the weak economy.”
The farm bill as passed by the Senate agriculture committee would slash $4.49 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps). Specifically under attack are state “Heat and Eat” policies, which allow state governments to coordinate between their heating assistance and nutrition assistance programs so that families don’t have to make a choice between putting food on the table and heating their homes in the winter.
“With more than a quarter million Arkansas children depending on food stamps, we cannot afford the Senate nutrition assistance cuts,” said Rich Huddleston, executive director of Voices member organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. “With unemployment still high, this is a terrible time to undercut families in need.”
If they succeed in constricting “Heat and Eat” programs, the Senate may effectively enact huge cuts in household SNAP benefits – around $90 a month loss, according to the Food Research and Action Center.
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As the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organizations, Voices for America’s Children (Voices) has been on the forefront of every major child policy victory for the past quarter-century. With 62 members nationwide, Voices speaks up for kids, and mobilizes and advocates for public policies to improve the lives of all children, especially those most vulnerable, throughout the United States. Visit us at www.voices.org.
Voices is a founding member of the Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of more than 50 leading national policy and advocacy organizations. www.childrensleadershipcouncil.com.