SNAP letter

APHA was among more than 60 groups to sign this letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, which opposed the House’s five-year farm bill proposal. Photo by APHA

APHA joined more than 60 national, state and local organizations on Tuesday on a letter of opposition to a five-year farm bill proposed in May by the U.S. House of Representatives and debated in the House this week.

The bill would slash funding allocated to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP and formerly known as food stamps, that offers nutrition assistance to millions of low-income Americans. According to the letter, SNAP cuts outlined in the bill would cause nearly 2 million Americans to lose benefits entirely, 210,000 children to lose free school meals and 850,000 households to lose an average $90 per month in food benefits.

Overall, the cut would eliminate an estimated $20.5 billion from SNAP.

“Cutting these benefits is shortsighted and any short-term savings will be far outweighed by the long-term costs to the nation’s health,” the letter stated. “We strongly urge you to reject the bill and to oppose any additional amendments to further cut funding for critical nutrition programs when the bill is considered on the House floor.”

Programs provided by the farm bill also include SNAP-Ed, a federal and state partnership that promotes nutrition education for SNAP recipients, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which offers fresh fruit or vegetable snacks to children in schools. Cuts to these programs correlate with health risks associated with poor nutrition, including:

  • poorer school performance and increased behavioral problems among children;
  • diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases; and
  • mental health problems.

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association and Share our Strength are among other organizations that signed on to the letter.

APHA recently asked Americans to oppose the House version of the bill. Contact your representative at APHA online.