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We are writing with an update on one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting low-income families and food insecure households in Georgia – the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill guides funding for federal farm and food policies, and this includes the Food Stamp/SNAP program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), two vital pieces of legislation for food banks and those we serve. The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years, and is now making its way through the House and Senate. Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have passed their bills and they will now go to the House and Senate floors for debate before a full vote is taken in each chamber.
House Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill (H.R. 1947)
Late last night, the House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 1947), a bill that includes a $20.5 billion/10 years cut to Food Stamps/SNAP, by a vote of 36-10. Georgia Representative and Committee member David Scott spoke passionately against the SNAP cuts, stating "Does it matter to you with this cut that there will be 2.5 million hungry children?". We thank him for his leadership on these issues. You can also watch Rep. Scott's full comments on these cuts.
Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill (S. 954)
On Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill (S.954) which contained a $4.1 billion/10 years cut to Food Stamps/SNAP. The Senate is expected to begin debate on the farm bill on Monday. During debate on an amendment to increase funding for TEFAP and SNAP, Georgia Senator Chambliss did voice support for increasing TEFAP as the process moves forward and recognized the important work of Georgia's food banks. We thank him for his long time support of Georgia's network of food banks.
Compared to last year, so far the food stamp/SNAP discussion, while marred by some outrageous attacks and comments, generally contained more subdued anti-SNAP attacks and was less venomous - thanks to the joint efforts of our allies and their networks. Many thanks for your continued efforts to support and protect SNAP and TEFAP.
While both bills passed out of committee with the SNAP cuts intact, there will be a vigorous floor debate in each chamber that will give us an opportunity to influence the final bill. Please look for an email from us in the next week or so with a request to reach out to your members of congress. We are working closely with our national network, Feeding America, to coordinate the most effective time for these calls and emails.
And if you are interested in becoming more involved in the Food Bank's advocacy efforts, please consider becoming an Advocacy Champion.