11 Million Americans Could Lose SNAP? Speak Up to Stop the Cuts!
Meredith Dodson, Director of US Poverty Campaigns
March 27, 2015
This post was last updated on March 27, 2015.
This week, the House and Senate passed their budget proposals by votes of 228-199 and 52-46. Unfortunately, the House proposal includes deep cuts and dramatic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP is the nation’s primary defense against hunger and, at a time when over one in five American children is at risk of going to bed hungry, a critical lifeline for millions. House Budget Committee staff estimated the cuts to SNAP total approximately $125 billion over the next ten years, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates could mean 11-12 million Americans would lose access to nutrition benefits. The House budget would convert SNAP (as well as Medicaid) into "state flexibility funds," better-known as block grants, and also require deep cuts in "mandatory" programs (outside of health and retirement programs), which includes SNAP. While the proposal provide no specific details, converting SNAP in to a block grant would be disastrous for millions of children and families.
In particular, the House budget paves the way for deep cuts and changes to SNAP by including SNAP and other programs in the budget reconciliation process, while the Senate does not. Now that they'e each passed a budget resolution. then they will work to reach a final agreement by April 15. This means we have a short window to stop Congress from putting cuts and changes to SNAP on the “fast track” (using budget reconciliation), and your voice is needed!
Use the Media to Pressure Congress to do the Right Thing, and Educate Your Community
Media and public pressure will be key to stopping these cuts – we must raise our voices in the local media to call on Congress to do the right thing. TAKE ACTION: Quickly tailor our SNAP LTE alert to send a letter to the editor right now, or spend time crafting a letter to the editor about protecting anti-poverty programs in the 2016 federal budget. Look for articles in your local paper this week about the new budget proposals in Congress and write your letter urging them to protect SNAP. You can use the talking points in the April Action to help draft your letters. Be sure to mention your members of Congress by name in your media piece, urging them to stand up for low-income Americans and oppose any budget that would cut services or restructure SNAP. Once your letter (or op-ed) gets published, make sure to send it to your members of Congress and send a quick note to the editorial writers to build or deepen your relationship with them. For tips on how to maximize the odds your letter will get published, check out our Activist Toolkit at http://www.results.org/skills_center/activist_toolkit/.
Make Sure Your Members of Congress Hear from You – Recess Coming Up!
After the budget proposals are on the House and Senate floors this week, Congress takes a two week recess. Protecting SNAP is also a key request for face-to-face meetings with members of Congress. The upcoming Congressional recess gives us a great opportunity to discuss the importance of SNAP program with your senators and representatives. TAKE ACTION: Request District meetings with your members of Congress and once you get one confirmed, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching on specific talking points for your meeting, along with the latest version of our Congressional requests. In addition, make the most of opportunities to engage with policymakers at town hall meetings and public events. In addition, be sure to bring poverty data by Congressional District and new SNAP data by Congressional district. You can also see a sample conversation with a policymaker or an aide on the RESULTS website to prepare for your meeting, find contact information for your members of Congress and their Schedulers on our Elected Officials page, and find tips for making the most of these opportunities on our Activist Toolkit at http://www.results.org/skills_center/activist_toolkit/.
Mobilie Others in Your Community to Take Action
TAKE ACTION: Use our outreach action and call-in flyer to educate others about the proposed cuts to SNAP and how they can impact the debate by hosting a community event or letter-writing table.
We can stop these cuts, but it will take all of us raising our voices together to make that happen!