Call Of The Day: Remove Work Requirements For SNAP From The Farm Bill

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps over 40 million low-income Americans purchase food.  Over 60% of SNAP recipients are children, adults over 65, or adults with disabilities.  Research has shown that access to SNAP reduces poverty and food insecurity, leading to lasting improvements in recipients’ health and economic stability.  SNAP access also helps non-disabled working age adults reenter the workforce by providing crucial financial support while they are in between jobs.  Local economies benefit from SNAP as well; a 2010 U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis estimated that for every $1 dollar spent on SNAP benefits, $1.79 was reinvested into the economy.

Every 5 years Congress sets to the task of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, with SNAP representing approximately 80% of the total budget of the bill.  For the first time, House Republicans have added new strict work requirements to the legislation, requiring millions of people who get food aid through SNAP to either have a job or attend job training classes for 20 hours a week. Those who violate the work requirements would become ineligible for SNAP benefits for a 1 year, with subsequent violations resulting in a 3-year loss of benefits.  Collin Peterson (D-MN), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, said the SNAP changes would "increase food insecurity and hardship.”

On April 19th, republicans in the House Agriculture Committee voted along party lines to advance the Farm Bill to the House floor for a full vote.

Who To Call:  Representative Richmond or Scalise.

Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative.  If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.

Representative Cedric Richmond - in DC at (202) 225-6636, and in New Orleans at (504) 288-3777
OR
Representative Steve Scalise - in DC at (202) 225-3015, and in Metairie at (504) 837-1259

SAMPLE SCRIPT:

Hi, my name is [Your Name] and I’m an active voter from New Orleans, ZIP Code 70118 [or wherever you're from].  

I’m calling today to urge the representative to vote against the re-authorization of the Farm Bill if it includes any work requirements to access SNAP benefits.  SNAP provides critical support to working families during tough times, and restricting access will worsen poverty and hurt local economies.

Thank you for all your hard work answering phones.

[IF LEAVING VOICEMAIL: Please leave your full address to ensure your call is tallied]

This call is adapted from 5calls.org.