CHN: With Farm Bill, most in Congress are poised to reject punitive rules that would lead to hunger and hardship


December 12, 2018

Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the bipartisan agreement on the Farm Bill and strong passage in the Senate:
“The agreement of House and Senate conferees on the Farm Bill, followed by the overwhelming 87-13 vote for it in the Senate, means that millions of struggling people, including many families with children, will not lose the aid that helps them put food on the table. SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) escaped the damage that had been proposed in the House bill because the conferees rightly rejected its harsh roadblocks to SNAP assistance. The agreement includes the Senate’s approach of support for successful jobs pilot programs, and includes a House provision for public-private partnership pilots intended to reduce food insecurity. It rejects punitive rules that would deny nutrition help to people in need.  The bill supports better data collection and increased emergency food through TEFAP.

“The diverse service providers, faith groups, policy experts, labor, civil rights and other organizations making up the Coalition on Human Needs appreciate the hard work of conferees Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senate Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and House Ranking Member Colin Peterson (D-MN) and their staff to craft nutrition provisions that protect millions of low-income people. We are also grateful for the overwhelming 87-13 vote in the Senate for the conference report, and look forward to a similar vote in the House.

“While there is more work to be done to ensure that SNAP’s assistance is adequate, it is important to recognize that substantial majorities in Congress are poised to rebuff a punitive approach destined to increase hunger and hardship. Anti-hunger advocates, prominently including members of the Coalition on Human Needs, have played an important role in educating members of Congress about the harm that punitive policies can inflict, and will continue to oppose them if attempted unilaterally by the Trump Administration.”