After the U.S. House of Representatives voted late last week to cut nutrition programs, including food stamps, from its version of the Farm Bill, U.S. Senator Tom Udall called on Senate leadership to keep the Farm Bill whole and oppose any efforts that would undermine New Mexico’s farmers and hungry families.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Udall joined with 16 other colleagues to oppose the House’s unprecedented legislative maneuver. He said the move disrupts a decades-long policy of supporting a range of assistance programs, which has ensured American farmers have the protections they need to grow enough food to feed people across America and the world, while also helping American families meet their basic food needs. This relationship is symbiotic, as farmers supply food that goes directly to families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
“The Senate-passed farm bill was the result of a bipartisan compromise designed to reduce the deficit, and it is vital to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in New Mexico, many of whom are struggling with the drought,” said Udall. “Just as importantly, the bill helps seniors, children and families who are struggling to put food on the table. Additionally, the food purchased through the bill’s nutrition programs is produced by farmers in New Mexico and across the country. To break this coalition apart, as the House of Representatives did Thursday, jeopardizes all of these critical programs for partisan gain and simply makes no sense. New Mexicans deserve better, and I strongly urge Senate leadership to continue to push for a comprehensive Farm Bill.”
SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.
Cuts to SNAP funding would have far-reaching economic effects in New Mexico, where 20 percent of people participate in SNAP. For instance, just a 10 percent cut in SNAP would mean $62 million less in SNAP payments, 801 fewer jobs and as many as 38.5 million fewer meals for low-income families. Udall said the failure to renew SNAP and other nutrition programs would hit N.M. families hard — in 2010, almost a third of children (29 percent) lived in households that were food insecure at some point in that year.