New York, NY- In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security, penned a column highlighting key findings from a Data For Progress poll on voters’ views of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The poll found:
· Broad bipartisan support for SNAP, including that a majority of Republicans hold favorable views of the program
· That a majority of voters in both parties supporting increasing funding for SNAP.
The piece also highlighted the reality about who SNAP recipients are:
· Of the 40 million low-income Americans that rely on SNAP, children make up nearly half of all recipients.
· Two-thirds of SNAP benefits go to families with children.
· Millions of recipients are people with disabilities, older adults, veterans and military families.
Click here or see below for the piece.
Data For Progress | Americans Know SNAP Feeds the Hungry. Lawmakers Attempting to Slash It Do So at Their Own Peril
By Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
April 10, 2023
As Congress gears up for another farm bill this year, some lawmakers are renewing calls to slash federal spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP. Such potential cuts could not come at a worse time for hungry American families, as emergency allotments for the SNAP program just expired last month. As a result, the average SNAP recipient will now get $3 less per day, for an average of just $2.03 a meal. And for too many, that could mean the difference between having enough to eat and going hungry.
Across the country, more than 40 million low-income Americans rely on SNAP to feed themselves or their families. Children make up one of the program’s largest cohorts, accounting for nearly half of all SNAP recipients; in fact, about 1 in 4 children in the United States are SNAP beneficiaries. Two-thirds of SNAP benefits go to families with children, and more than half of that amount goes to families with either infants, toddlers, or preschool-age children. These benefits serve not only as a way to keep these children fed, but also to ensure they get healthy, nutritious food. Research shows that adults who had access to SNAP as children overall had improved health in their youth and better health outcomes later in life.
Another major portion of SNAP beneficiaries are older adults — people who have spent a lifetime working and contributing to our economy. Many are living on fixed incomes and struggling to make ends meet. SNAP serves not only as a way to pay for the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy, but it can also allow these individuals to devote their money toward other necessities such as housing, transportation, or prescription medications.
Shockingly, many veterans and military families receive SNAP benefits as well. According to the USDA, SNAP households in 2019 included 22,000 active duty service members, 213,000 members of the National Guard or reservists, and 1.1 million veterans. These people devote their lives to serving our country, but far too many face food insecurity.
Millions of people receiving SNAP benefits have disabilities that make it very difficult if not impossible to work. This can have major economic consequences for these individuals and their families and make it even more challenging to afford healthy, nutritious foods.
By and large, SNAP recipients are those in our society who need a helping hand: disabled veterans unable to work, single moms struggling to feed their children, full-time workers earning too little to buy nutritious food, elderly retirees trying to stay healthy and independent on a fixed income. And at a time when prices are still high on everything from food to fuel, SNAP serves as a critical lifeline for those struggling to afford basic nutrition.
According to a new survey by Data For Progress, most American voters seem to understand this. Mostunderstand that SNAP benefits largely go to “vulnerable Americans, who may have disabilities or children in the household.”
The study also finds that SNAP has broad bipartisan support. Sixty-six percent say they have a favorable view of the program, including 83 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Independents, and 52 percent of Republicans. And a majority of voters in both parties actually support increasing, rather than decreasing, funding for SNAP. The bottom line is that SNAP is an essential program with broad, bipartisan support.
Overall, a majority of voters in both parties view the program favorably, and support increasing federal funding rather than decreasing it. These are useful lessons heading into the farm bill negotiations. Lawmakers should be as reluctant to cut SNAP benefits as they are Social Security and Medicare. American voters are watching.