Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today introduced the SNAP for KIDS Act with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA). This new legislation would expand the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance program for the most vulnerable children across the country. Gillibrand’s legislation comes on the heels of the recent announcement by Congressional Republicans that they are planning to take away food assistance from low-income families who rely on the SNAP program to put food on the table.
“No one in America should ever have to suffer from hunger – especially our children,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congressional Republicans are proposing drastic cuts to the SNAP program even though more than 40 million Americans rely on SNAP to put food on the table for their families. I am proud to introduce the SNAP for KIDS Act, which would expand the SNAP program so that our most vulnerable children never have to go to bed hungry. No community and no classroom is better served by having hungry kids, and no amount of government savings is worth a child in their bed hungry at night.”
“SNAP provides a lifeline for millions of Americans, helping them get through hard times by providing food assistance. At a time when people on top are doing phenomenally well and more than 40 million people are living in poverty, we should be expanding these programs that lift people out of poverty, not making them even harder to access,” said Senator Sanders.
“Republican proposals to cut SNAP are cruel. Far too many families already have trouble putting food on the table,” said Senator Warren. “Building a better tomorrow for our children requires making sure that they, and their families, have access to basic necessities like nutritious food. I’m glad to work with my colleagues to strengthen the SNAP program, not tear it apart.”
“No one should ever go hungry, and there’s particularly no excuse in the wealthiest nation on earth,” Senator Booker said. “Millions of Americans rely on the SNAP program, and nearly half of all SNAP participants are kids – students who should be worrying about homework assignments and test scores, not where their next meal is coming from. This bill is a much-needed expansion to the SNAP program to help ensure that no child in this country goes hungry.”
“In America, no child should ever have to wake up, go to school, or go to sleep at night hungry. Food security is an issue that should be beyond partisanship. Funding for the SNAP program must not only be protected, but expanded in order to help feed our nation’s most vulnerable children to help them reach their full potential,” said Senator Harris.
Under the current SNAP program, low-income families with children receive very modest benefits at the beginning of each month, making it nearly impossible for most families to purchase enough food to get through the end of the month. Many families with school-age children report running out of SNAP food assistance funding every month. 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’s SNAP for KIDS Act 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.