The Farm Bill, yet another victim of our government shut-down.
On October 1st, the day when our do-little Congress decided to hijack the federal government and shut a chunk of it down like a kid throwing a tantrum, the Farm Bill also expired. Sadly, the bill's expiration garnered hardly any press as there were more exciting stories to cover, like watching Senator Ted Cruz reciting Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" ad naseum in front of an empty Senate chamber.
Impressed as I am with Ted's ability to read at a 3rd grade level, the expiration of the Farm Bill is actually much bigger news. You see, in addition to farm policy, subsidies, insurance etc., the bill is also the main funding mechanism for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly called Food Stamps) and SNAP Ed, which funds nutrition and food related educational programs for folks who receive SNAP benefits.
Drastic cuts to SNAP were already on the table in the proposed Farm Bill when it expired, a scary prospect when you consider that nearly half of all SNAP participants are children. If Congress ever gets it's act together and passes a new bill that drastically cuts funding for this poverty relieving program, it will affect millions of children and families, leaving them even more vulnerable to hunger. If they continue current course and speed and do nothing to revive the bill, the results will be truly catastrophic.
My friends at Share Our Strength published this infographic — a visual way to understand this complicated legislation – a while back. The graphic should help you understand exactly what's at stake here. If losing SNAP funding angers you as much as it does me, please share the infographic with your friends, then call or write your member of Congress and ask them to please stop acting like a spoiled child, and to fully fund SNAP for the benefit of hungry kids that aren't nearly as lucky as our kids in Congress!
Thanks for your help – Steve