SALT LAKE CITY – Supported by the Utah Food Bank, a group of U.S. senators is calling on Congress to stop billions of dollars of cuts from the program commonly known as food stamps.
Nearly 40 senators say they’re asking both houses of Congress to stop all proposed funding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is usually part of the Farm Bill debate. Neither Orrin Hatch nor Mike Lee, both R-Utah, is in that group.
Ginette Bott, chief development officer for the Utah Food Bank, said lawmakers who still want to cut SNAP funding don’t understand hunger in America.
“The folks that are making these decisions right now have probably never missed a meal in their life in a situation where they couldn’t afford it,” she said. “Nor have they probably put a child to bed at night hungry with no food, knowing that tomorrow morning, that child will still be hungry.”
The Senate voted this summer to cut more than $4 billion from the SNAP program. The House passed legislation last month to consider nutrition programs separately from the rest of the Farm Bill and reduce SNAP funding by $40 billion over 10 years. The two sides now are meeting to try to work out a compromise.
Bott said cutting the program will hurt hungry children and seniors.
“Seniors who are home-bound who have no change, or hope to change and increase their income, they’re going to be almost more challenged,” she said, “because they’re going to lose additional food benefits and not have any chance of improving their income.”
The Utah Food Bank, the state’s largest, provided more than 36 million pounds of food to the hungry last year.