What We Are Watching: Federal Advocacy

2018 Farm Bill:
The Farm Bill is a huge complex piece of legislation that is reauthorized and passed approximately every 5 years. This bill brings together farm industry interests, conservation interests, human services interests, and really nearly any stakeholder that has an interest in our food system.
The Farm Bill expires September 30, 2018. This is legislation that needs to be reauthorized every 5 years. It is a very complex piece of legislation that brings together many interests and stakeholders working within our food system.

The Farm Bill is organized into 12 Titles or sections.
We as anti-hunger advocates tend to be most interested in the Nutrition Title (Title IV). This is the section of the Farm Bill that governs programs that Americans rely on to feed their families through tough times. 
This year, in 2018, we are All Hands on Deck to fight any cuts or structural changes to SNAP (the federal food stamp program).

The House passed a Farm Bill proposal on June 21st with a 213-211 vote that includes draconian provisions in regards to the SNAP program. This bill by all analyses would result in cuts to SNAP largely through reducing enrollment through harsh work requirements and time limits if unable to meet those requirements.
The Senate passed a Farm Bill proposal based on bi-partisan negotiations on June 28th, with an 86-11 vote. This bill did not include the cuts to benefits and eligibility that are contained in the House bill.
For some resources on the value of SNAP to people that need it, to our local economies and our communities, see these resources from our partners at FRAC:
Governor Inslee released this letter to our Washington State Congressional Delegation regarding H.R. 2 voicing concerns and opposition to the current bill in the House. To read the full letter, click here.
And here is an Op-Ed from our former Board Chair Helen McGovern-Pilant from EFN: Click here to read the full article in The News Tribune.
Some additional great articles from our partners are here:

What you can Do:
Contact your Congressional Representatives...they need to hear from YOU, their constituents, about your priorities and concerns. 

What we would like to see: a real effort to strengthen SNAP by increasing the benefit rate based on the "low cost" food plan as opposed to the "thrifty" food plan as described by USDA, among other things. This would increase the ability of food stamp recipients to purchase healthier food. A great example of what strengthening SNAP and its positive impacts could look like is contained in HR1276 Closing the Meal Gap Act, a marker bill that you can urge (or thank) your lawmakers for signing in support of.
At this point, we want to see adoption of a Farm Bill as passed in the Senate with provisions that protect and strengthen SNAP.
 
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