The Farm Bill passed by Congress last week did not include major cuts to SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. But hunger-fighting groups say it falls short of meeting nutritional needs.
The House version of the Farm Bill had included new work requirements for SNAP benefits and would have redirected $1 billion to a job-training program – measures opponents said would have forced millions to lose benefits. While those provisions were left out of the five-year authorization that won bipartisan approval, Joel Berg, CEO of the group Hunger Free America, said he doesn’t think the final bill is cause for celebration.
Despite his disappointment, Berg said he’s gratified that cuts were excluded from the bill and is calling on President Donald Trump to sign it. He pointed out that, at current levels, the average SNAP benefit is just $1.36 per meal, too low to provide adequate nutrition.
He added that the United States is the only industrialized Western nation with such high levels of hunger. Berg said he hopes the Democrats taking control of the U.S. House in the coming year will introduce measures that go beyond avoiding cuts to nutrition programs.
He said ending hunger in America will benefit everyone by reducing health care expenditures, helping children learn and improving worker productivity.