Republicans’ Partisan SNAP Proposal Takes Food From Families While Their Tax Law Gives Billionaires Tax Breaks
Last year, Republicans cut health care for 13 million people and raised premiums for some families by over $2,000 annually in order to give big Wall Street companies like Apple, Wells Fargo and Pfizer corporate tax breaks. Now, they have to figure out how to pay for these tax cuts, which raised the deficit by over $1.5 trillion while giving the richest households in the U.S. an annual tax break of $51,000 each.
To pay for the new tax law, Republicans in Congress are proposing a whole new array of cuts to public programs starting with big cuts in the Farm Bill that would make it harder for millions to put food on the table for their families. The House Republican Farm Bill (H.R. 2) cuts $20 billion from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) by creating new requirements, red tape, and bureaucratic hoops that will make it much harder to access critical benefits.
Basic Background on SNAP
SNAP or food stamps is a tremendously successful program with a proven track record when it comes to combatting poverty, improving outcomes for kids and providing support to working families in periods of economic recession or unexpected disasters like the recent hurricanes in Gulf states.
- SNAP is a public-private partnership program that makes up a critical part of the national social safety net: it helps more than 40 million people get enough food to eat.
- About two-thirds of SNAP recipients are children, seniors and people with disabilities.
- The nation’s lowest wage earners depend on SNAP because they either don’t make enough to make ends meet consistently or they are not continuously employed. Research shows that over half of minimum and low-wage workers in occupations like restaurant and food service, hotel, retail, etc. qualify for food stamps because their wages are insufficient to keep up with cost of living.
- Women are more likely to depend on SNAP since women are more likely to be in low-wage jobs or be unemployed because the demands of caregiving make it hard to find and keep employment and the high cost of child-care put employment out of reach. Women of color, who are more likely to be raising children alone, to be living in poverty and to be earning less than white women and white men because of the gender and racial pay gap, will be most impacted by cuts to SNAP.
To see who depends on SNAP in your state, download your state fact sheet here.
To see how many people depend on SNAP per Congressional District visit here.
Talking Points on Republican House Proposal to Cut SNAP
- Republicans claim that cutting food stamps will put more people back to work, but the truth is most people who get SNAP who can work already do. Nearly 60% of working age people who get SNAP work in the same month they receive benefits and over 80% work in the same year.
- Although the Republicans’ claim they will provide “guaranteed” job training to help workers get into the workforce, there’s little money in the bill for that training. Instead, the bill passes the buck to states and ignores the reality that whether people are trained or not, there aren’t enough good-paying jobs that support families without public assistance.
- In fact, the bill puts more money into creating new red tape and bureaucracy to track who is working rather than actually making sure people have jobs that don’t require them to depend on SNAP. The bill would require 7.4 million people to prove monthly that they are either working 20 hours a week or in job training and would end states’ ability to waive these requirements even in times of recession or areas of high unemployment like rural communities.
- The bill also extends the work requirements that already exist in SNAP to older people ages 50-59 even though evidence shows that it’s harder for older people to find employment.
The partisan Republican farm bill isn’t fooling anyone: punishing kids, seniors, people with disabilities and low wage workers won’t get people back to work or help the economy just like tax breaks for the rich haven’t created jobs or helped the middle class.
Instead, the current Republican SNAP proposals are designed to shrink the food stamp program so that Republicans can free up more money to pay for their massive tax giveaway.
Americans Have Had Enough of These Upside-down Priorities
If we can afford to give the richest 1% of households, prescription drug manufacturers, banks, and the nation’s most profitable companies tax breaks, then we can afford Medicaid, food stamps, and other services for seniors, kids, people with disabilities and people working for minimum wage.
- These work requirement proposals in SNAP, like the ones proposed in Medicaid, are designed to cut benefits and stigmatize poor people and low wage workers who are facing rigged odds in today’s economy, while the rich and corporations get more benefits at their expense.
- The richest 1% of households and wealthy Wall Street shareholders who are getting over 80% of the tax breaks in the new tax law are not required to prove that they work or that they have done anything to earn the tremendous benefits they are receiving, even though the new law is costing the rest of us trillions in cuts and deficit increases.
If Republican lawmakers want to improve work and end reliance on public benefits, they should take action to raise the minimum wage which has been stuck at $7.25 for almost a decade, create more good-paying full time jobs, lower the cost of child care so more women can work outside the home, and stop cutting public education funding so that more young people can have access to the college, vocational and job training they need for higher-paying jobs.