The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is our nation’s largest anti-hunger program and it provides crucial nutrition to families with children, promotes health and wellness, and prepares students to learn. Approximately one in five children in our nation receive SNAP benefits. SNAP is authorized by the Farm Bill, which is currently scheduled for reauthorization in the 115th Congress. SNAP is being threatened with significant cuts and additional work requirements for recipients.
In May, the House narrowly rejected HR 2, the harsh version of Farm Bill reauthorization that makes steep cuts and changes to SNAP that impact millions of families and would drop automatic certification for free school meals for 265,000 students. The House bill also attempts to roll back existing healthy guidelines for school meals. By procedural maneuver, the House was able to reconsider this vote, and the measure passed in a very close vote in June. The Senate passed a bi-partisan bill, supported by NEA, that does not make the cuts to SNAP contained in the House bill. We urge Congress to support a final Farm Bill that follows the Senate’s version and retains SNAP benefits and eligibility, and protects certification and healthy guidelines for school meals.
School Meals Programs
Our nation’s child nutrition programs, including school lunch and breakfast, are still due for renewal by Congress. Despite an effort to move reauthorization of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act forward in the past Congress, differences over drastic funding cuts and changes to nutrition standards and program eligibility stalled progress.
The NEA strongly opposes cuts to child nutrition programs, and supports the nutrition guidelines of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act for the health and well-being of our students. Other NEA priorities in child nutrition reauthorization include providing adequate training and equipment to help school food service professionals provide healthy meals, ensuring that students from families with low-incomes also have access to meals in the summer months, and expanding the Farm to School program to expose students to healthy, locally sourced foods and enrichment activities.