Importance of the Farm Bill and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

United States Senstor for New YorkJune 19, 2012
By Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator

Currently we are debating what is known as “The Farm Bill,” a five-year piece of legislation that impacts all of America’s agriculture policy through 2017. It also dictates vital funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps.

The current draft of the bill cuts funding for this vital anti-poverty program by $4.5 billion. To put that in context, what it means is that nearly 300,000 families in New York alone will receive $90 less a month for food. That is basically the last week of the month in groceries. In this already tough economy, a family losing this help will be devastating. More than half of food stamp recipients are children, 17% are seniors and now, unfortunately, as many veterans are using food stamps as any time in history.

Imagine hearing your child say, “Mommy I am hungry” night after night and not being able to give him or her the food they need. It breaks my heart. As a mother and a legislator, I can not stand quietly by as this happens.

I have an amendment to restore these funds that does not add a penny to the national debt, ask any sacrifice of our hardworking farmers, or raise taxes on anybody. Hopefully we will have a chance to vote on this bipartisan, common-sense solution. But the outcome is still not clear.

Our fight is a tough one, but one worth having.

June 19, 2012

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