The U.S. House of Representatives blocked its version of the farm bill Thursday afternoon in a surprising 195-234 vote. The defeat of the measure was a victory for APHA and public health advocates, as the reauthorization of the bill included drastic cuts to important nutrition and public health programs.
The House bill would have slashed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other nutrition programs by $21 billion and caused 2 million individuals to lose their SNAP benefits entirely, 210,000 children to lose free school meals and 850,000 households to see their benefits cut by an average of $90 per month. Though, some House Republicans say the proposed cuts didn’t go far enough.
Earlier this week, APHA called on its members and advocates to write their representative urging them to oppose the bill unless harmful cuts to programs that provided assistance to the poorest Americans were restored. The Association also joined more than 60 national, state and local organizations on a joint letter to the House this week to oppose the measure.