On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I am writing to urge you to oppose the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), which would slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and make it more difficult for millions of Americans to feed themselves and their families.
SNAP provides a vital lifeline to over 40 million households in the U.S. who regularly struggle to eat. H.R. 2 would cut $17 billion in nutrition support, taking food assistance from 2 million people. It would also result in 265,000 children losing access to free school meals.
SNAP is a successful program that operates as an economic multiplier – benefiting not only its recipients and their families, but also the broader economy. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, every $1 billion of retail generated by SNAP creates $340 million in farm production as well as 8,900 to 17,900 full-time jobs, including 3,300 farm jobs. This multiplier effect is particularly significant during economic downturns as every $5 spent on SNAP is estimated to yield $9 of spending in local communities.
H.R. 2 also imposes unreasonable and unsustainable work requirements, ignoring the fact that many SNAP recipients are already working, but have wages too low and hours too scarce to go without food assistance. While the bill does increase funding for the USDA to oversee job-training programs, the Congressional Budget Office analysis of H.R. 2 confirms that it will take a decade for states to accommodate the influx of new participants.
Finally, we urge Congress to reject any effort to restrict or repeal America's cargo preference laws or otherwise weaken the Food for Peace, Food for Progress or McGovern Dole programs. Foreign food aid cargoes represent the largest percentage of non-defense cargo carried by the U.S. Merchant Marine. Undermining these programs would hurt farmers, destroy thousands of maritime jobs and weaken our national security.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department