June/July 2018 U.S. Poverty Action
June 5th, 2018
Use Effective Advocacy Tools to Protect SNAP
With the House looking to take another vote on their harmful Farm Bill in June (see more below) and the Senate bill moving their own bipartisan bill, use your advocacy skills and talents to push Congress to protect food assistance for hungry families. Below is a list of actions your group can take. The goal is to check off as many actions as possible between now and the completion of the RESULTS International Conference (July 17). Post your actions on the RESULTS Volunteers Facebook page and use the hashtag #Voices4RESULTS on Twitter to encourage others to do the same.
Updated EPIC Laser Talk for Letters and Conversations
Engage: As an anti-poverty advocate, I believe that access to food is critical for families as they move up the economic ladder. Sadly, ______ people in our state are having a hard time putting food on the table each month.
Problem: The Senate has passed a bipartisan farm bill that protects and continues important food assistance through SNAP (formerly food stamps), but leaders in the House wants to make harmful changes to SNAP that would take food away from 2 million low-income Americans, many of whom are struggling to find work.
Inform: SNAP is the cornerstone in the fight against hunger in America – it is timely, targeted, and incredibly effective. (Include your own experience and/or why you care about SNAP). Studies show that people who receive SNAP – particularly children – grow up healthier and do better in school. Rather than taking away crucial supports from families, I urge you to protect and strengthen nutrition assistance in the farm bill.
Call to Action: Will you seek out farm bill negotiators and tell them that you will only support a final farm bill that is bipartisan and protects SNAP?
_____ Send an e-mail urging Congress to protect SNAP.
_____ Write a letter to each of your members of Congress urging them to protect SNAP. Use stories to illustrate the importance of this vital program to people facing hunger.
_____ Call your House and Senate DC offices and tell them to protect SNAP from cuts in the Farm Bill. Find contact information on our Elected Officials page.
_____ Meet (via phone or in person) with House and Senate aides to talk about the importance of SNAP to people in your district and state.
_____ Submit a letter to the editor telling your members of Congress by name to protect SNAP.
_____ Mobilize others you know to write letters through our #LettersGetLOUD campaign – and urge them to share their own letters via social media. Use our new one-page action sheet for generating letters.
_____ Schedule lobby meetings in your district (invite new letter-writers to join you in these meetings) and at the 2018 RESULTS International Conference to deliver your #LettersGetLOUD letters.
The Latest on SNAP and the Farm Bill (updated July 3, 2018)
On May 18, House members mustered enough votes to dramatically defeat the House farm bill, 198-213, which would cut SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and take away food assistance from millions of people. RESULTS volunteers played a role in this victory. Many of you met with members of Congress, wrote 115 published media pieces, made phones calls, and leveraged relationships with key staff to help defeat this bill. Sadly, the House was later able to pass the bill by a razor-thin margin, 213-211.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed its own version of the farm bill, which is far better on SNAP than the House bill. The Senate bill makes no drastic changes to SNAP while also investmenting in programs that would help people find work. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, 86-11. Leaders in both chambers are now negotiating a compromise bill they hope to pass this summer.
SNAP is a critical lifeline for people facing hunger in the United States. The modest benefit it provides (approximately $1.40 per meal per person) allows 40 million Americans to put food on the table each month. As shown right, SNAP has tangible health benefits for those who receive it.
Yet the House wants to sacrifice this success by imposing severe work requirements that only succeed at taking away food assistance. In addition, the House bill eliminates “broad-based categorical eligibility”, which gives states the flexibility to administer SNAP efficiently and ensure that those who need help can get it. With this option eliminated, eligibility will be tightened and many families will face a steeper “cliff effect” (lose more in assistance than what they earn in income) and be forced deeper into poverty.
We must use the same kind of momentum generated to initially defeat the House bill to pass a final farm bill that looks like the Senate bill – one that is bipartisan and protects SNAP. And we can do it. With a sustained effort of multiple actions, you can ensure that hungry families will have access to critical food assistance each month.