1. Press Release
  2. Economic Justice

Quaker Lobby Urges Congress to Keep Hungry Americans Top of Mind Amid Farm Bill Negotiations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 6, 2018


Washington, DC (September 6, 2018) – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) applauded the drop in the number of food insecure households but argues much more work remains to end hunger and food insecurity in the United States. Yesterday, the same day the farm bill conferees met for their first public meeting, the Department of Agriculture released its annual food security data, reporting the number of people who were food insecure in 2017.

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, tim@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

“While we are encouraged by the decrease in food insecurity rates, the fact that 15 million households are food insecure remains an outrage in a country with such abundance as ours,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for FCNL. “With so many Americans struggling to put food on the table, these numbers clearly show that now is not the time to be cutting vital nutrition assistance programs. Instead, Congress should pass a truly bipartisan bill that seeks to address hunger rather than worsen it.”

Food-insecure households are defined as those that have difficulty providing enough food for themselves at some point during the year due to a lack of resources. Forty million Americans, or 15 million U.S. households, experienced food insecurity in 2017. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) exists to fill the gaps for the 40 million Americans who experience food insecurity, helping them put food on the table and prevent hunger.

Congress is currently debating the program’s future as members work to reauthorize the farm bill. The House version of the bill would force about two million people off the program, removing vital food assistance from those struggling to find a job or work enough hours to make ends meet. In contrast, the Senate version does not force families off of SNAP, but expands important pilot programs. The latter version passed the full Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“This is not an issue of work; most people on SNAP are already working. This is about taking food away from a parent because she can't find affordable childcare or denying food assistance to an older individual who lost his job because he can't find a new one fast enough,” explained Amelia Kegan, Legislative Director for Domestic Policy at FCNL. “We know of policies that help more Americans get into the workforce and maintain employment. But while the economy is strong, it's not working for everyone. Yesterday’s food insecurity data should remind us – and the farm bill conferees – of just that.”

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Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL lobbies Congress and the administration for U.S. policies that advance peace, justice, and good government.