Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has introduced the SNAP for KIDS Act as an amendment to the upcoming Senate Farm Bill. This amendment would expand the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for vulnerable children from low-income families in New York and across the country. Gillibrand’s push comes after the House passed its version of the Farm Bill last week, which would cut an estimated $9 billion from the program and result in one million people losing access to SNAP. Gillibrand’s SNAP for KIDS amendment would increase food assistance for school-age children (5-17 years old) by $42 per child per month, a 27 percent increase, and would adjust the formula for benefit calculations to make certain that families don’t fall behind as food prices rise.
“Our children should never have to suffer from hunger, but the House Farm Bill is a blatant example of how out-of-touch Congress is about poverty in our state and across the country,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The drastic, cruel cuts in the House Farm Bill would add unnecessary red tape that will undoubtedly end up kicking many families off of this life-saving program, including their children. I will do everything in my power to fight back against this awful plan, and I’m proud to offer the SNAP for KIDS Act to expand SNAP for children. No child in our country should ever have to go to bed hungry.”
Many low-income families in New York and across the country rely on SNAP assistance to put food on the table. 44% of SNAP recipients are children, 22.5% are disabled or elderly, and 14% are caregivers or are in school. The vast majority of able-bodied SNAP recipients are already working, and already have to follow work requirements. Under the current SNAP program, low-income families receive very modest benefits, and families with school-age children often report running out of SNAP food assistance funding every month before the next paycheck comes. If the SNAP for KIDS amendment is adopted as part of the Farm Bill, it would help these families stretch their food budget a few more days and ensure that many more children have adequate nutrition. Research has shown that students who suffer from hunger have lower test scores, miss class more often, and don’t retain as much information in class as their peers.
Gillibrand first introduced the SNAP for KIDS Act as a standalone bill in April 2018. This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Ed Markey (D-MA).