Editor's note: This post originally appeared on New America's In the Tank blog. Our managing editor, Fuzz Hogan, spoke with Aleta Sprague of the Asset Building Program and Clare McCann, with the Education Policy Program, about legislative developments affecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, often known as food stamps).
As the Farm Bill's fate lies in a swirl of confusion and acrimony on Capitol Hill, we asked two New America experts to assess the impact of the House move to separate SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance) from the bill. Beyond all the coverage of the legislative wins and losses, the way the bill was put together could have far-ranging impact, on our economy and our schools, unless, of course, promises to take up SNAP in future legislation fund it to present levels.
Q 1 – Aleta, what does leaving SNAP out of the farm bill mean for the program?
Aleta: The House’s decision to leave SNAP out of the Farm Bill entirely sends a clear message to families in poverty: they are not Congress’ priority. It’s worth noting that of the 23 million families currently participating in SNAP, 76% include a child or elderly or disabled family member. While benefits will continue at their current levels for now, leaving SNAP out of the bill paves the way for even deeper cuts than the $20.5 billion the House proposed earlier this summer.
Q2 – Clare, how do cuts in SNAP impact education?
Clare: Almost half of SNAP recipients are children. They lack access to adequate amounts of food, and possible cuts to the program come at a time in their lives when they are extremely vulnerable to the health, cognitive, and even academic impacts of hunger. Research has demonstrated that children without adequate access to food also struggle in school.