Some provisions included in the House Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill, passed out of committee yesterday, give rise to concern for those who face hunger daily in Iowa. SNAP, known in Iowa as the Food Assistance Program, is a first line of defense in fighting hunger. The Iowa Food Bank Association cannot support any legislation that would increase hunger in Iowa, negatively impact necessary SNAP benefits for the most vulnerable in our society, or force hungry individuals to make choices between fundamental services.
The most concerning of these measures could:
- force some households to choose between heating a household and securing food
- threaten the population of working families, parents of young children, and individuals whose income places them perilously close to the federal poverty level.
- overwhelm states with the financial and administrative burdens of imposing untested work requirements
- negatively impact the retailers who are redeeming SNAP benefits causing job losses and/or hour cuts resulting in more folks needing support to obtain food
For every meal that food banks provide, SNAP provides 12. If access to SNAP is further limited or eliminated, despite best efforts, food banks would not be able to meet the need. The purported ideal of the bill is to encourage work, but its impact would be to make work harder by creating more hungry individuals. Despite some positive steps in the bill language, those few steps are grossly overwhelmed by the negative impact of the other proposals.
The Iowa Food Bank Association is in favor of a strong farm bill that supports the hungry, farmers, and rural community. Unfortunately, the proposals passed yesterday fail to do that and we encourage our Iowa congressional representatives to vote no.
You can take action by contacting your congressional representative. Call 1.888.398.8702 and let your representative know that these measures would hurt Iowans.