Weekly SNAPshot

    2 September 2013

    “We hold people back when we say, ‘No, you need this money. You can’t do it on your own.’”

    – Kansas Department of Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, explaining the decision to reinstate SNAP work requirements

    Freeze Frame:

    Congress returns on Monday for the first of only 9 legislative days in September.  Although both chambers have recently focused most of their attention on the President’s request to authorize military force in Syria, the Farm Bill has not been forgotten.  House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) circulated a memo to the Republican conference last week regarding Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s SNAP reform bill, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act.  Rep. McCarthy’s memo confirmed that the bill contains a $40 billion cut to the SNAP program, as expected, and will be voted on this month.  Meanwhile, in preparation for the ensuing clash over SNAP funding, hunger advocates galvanized around a study released by the USDA this week, which demonstrated that 14.5% of American households are food insecure.

    From a Wider Lens (How we got here):

    Last Week

    ·House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) circulated a memo to his Republican colleagues regarding the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act.  The draft bill has been sent to the Congressional Budget Office to be scored.  -- the bill’s major elements ; background

    This Week

    • Wednesday, September 3:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study titled “Household Food Security in the United States in 2012.”  -- summary and study via USDA
    • The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)’s reaction:  “Congress needs to stop a bidding war over how much to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other low-income programs and start acting on what is going to help struggling, hungry families. And the first step is for Congress to pass a Farm Bill that doesn’t cut SNAP.” -- via FRAC
    • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)’s reaction:  “This is no way for the wealthiest country in the world to behave.”
    • The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ reaction:  “By ending or cutting food assistance for the most vulnerable Americans, the House Republican leadership proposal would inevitably mean more severe hardship across America.”
    • Wednesday, September 3:  The Kansas Department for Children and Families announced that it would not seek to renew a federal waiver that relaxes work requirements for SNAP recipients.  Up to 20,000 SNAP recipients are expected to lose their benefits due to the change.   Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, and Utah have also decided not to renew the waiver.  -- more information via The Kansas City Star

    The “Weekly SNAPshot” briefly recaps key developments related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through a timeline summary of the week. For additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact Dana Weekes at 202-457-6307 or dweekes@pattonboggs.com or Melanie Goggins at 202-457-5649 or mgoggins@pattonboggs.com.